The electric power industry is committed to reducing mercury emissions.
On December 16, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the first national Clean Air Act standards to reduce mercury and other emissions from coal- and oil-based power plants.
The Utility MACT rule seeks to reduce emissions of mercury, acid gases and non-mercury metals through Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards under the Clean Air Act. MACT standards are based on emission limitations achieved by the best performing 12 percent of existing sources, and cost cannot be considered. The Utility MACT rule will require most coal plants to upgrade existing controls and/or install additional controls. The Utility MACT rule requires coal plants to reduce mercury emissions by about 90 percent beginning in 2015.
Electric companies are also helping the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) test the effectiveness of emerging, mercury-specific control technologies.
Power sector emissions may be further reduced as new controls are deployed to meet current ozone and acid rain program requirements.
The electric power industry is currently required to report its mercury emissions under the Clean Air Act. Additionally, electric companies report their mercury emissions under the agency’s Toxics Release Inventory program.