Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: EPA Establishes Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants

By James J. A. Mulhall 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently established national standards that will impact certain emissions from power plants. EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) relate to permissible limits of mercury and other emissions that include arsenic, chromium, nickel and metals.

The standards, which were finalized on December 16, 2011:

  • relate to coal and oil-fired electric steam generating power plants with a capacity of 25 megawatts or greater,
  • will apply to approximately 1,100 coal-fired units and 300 oil-fired units at about 600 power plants,
  • fall under Sections 111 and 112 of the Clean Air Act amendments,
  • have requirements that are at least as stringent as the emission reductions achieved by the average of the top 12% best controlled sources, and
  • allow for up to 4 years for compliance.

A map of U.S. power plant locations and other information about MATS can be viewed at

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