Ready Or Not, Here Come EPA’s MACT And CSAPR

Margaret Ryan

Congressional deadlock means two game-changing Environmental Protection Agency rules are poised to take effect unless a court stops them or the White House weighs in.

The rules will cost electric utilities and their ratepayers billions. But the utility industry itself is split between those that have invested to lower their air pollution ahead of federal regulation and say stricter standards can be met, and those who remain highly coal-dependent and contend the EPA is forcing changes so fast it will endanger electric reliability.

House Republicans have made repeated attempts this year to stop EPA, but none of those efforts are even getting to a vote in the Senate. Given the budget deadlock, there’s little expectation that will change before compliance schedules kick in.

The two rules are the Mercury & Air Toxics Standards (known as the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology, or MACT, rule) and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, CSAPR. Both stem from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments.

Predecessors of both rules were issued in the George W. Bush administration and thrown out by courts. That left both rewrites to the Obama administration…

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