The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as promised, has stayed until November the effectiveness of the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
Those new standards had been published in the Federal Register on Feb. 16. In an Aug. 2 Federal Register notice, the agency said the stay will last until Nov. 2.
On Feb. 16, the EPA issued the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal- and Oil-fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units and Standards of Performance for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility, Industrial-Commercial-Institutional, and Small Industrial-Commercial-Institutional Steam Generating Units, generally referred to as the MATS rule.
The EPA said it received petitions from a number of interested parties requesting reconsideration of certain issues in the rule. On July 20, the EPA issued a letter, stating its intent to grant the petitions for reconsideration on certain new source issues related to the emission standards issued under Clean Air Act section 112, including measurement issues related to mercury and the data set to which the variability calculation was applied when establishing the new source standards for particulate matter and hydrochloric acid.
In its letter granting the petitions for reconsideration on certain issues relating to the Clean Air Act section 112 new source standards, the EPA stated that it intended to exercise its authority to stay the effectiveness of those new source standards for three months. This action also stays the effectiveness of any monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements related to the section 112(d) new source standards. This stay does not apply to any other provisions of the rule.
EPA in a July 20 public statement: “This review, which is not an uncommon step for major standards, will have no impact on the sensible, achievable, and cost-effective standards already set for existing power plants, which will protect millions of families and, especially, children from air pollution. By moving quickly to review the new information, this action will provide greater certainty for five planned future facilities, in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Utah, that would be covered by the standards. This review will not change the expected costs or public health benefits of the rule.”