What are the economic, health and political significance of President Obama's mercury standards for power plants?
EPA announced this week the first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The regulations will require electric utilities throughout the country to install technology to control the pollution. Many power plants already comply with the rule, but others--namely older, coal-fired plants--will face challenges complying within the three-year timeline required by the Clean Air Act.
EPA said the rules will slash 90 percent of mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants and in turn save 11,000 premature deaths, according to its draft rule announced in March. EPA said then that the rule will cost almost $10 billion a year and have annual health benefits between $90 billion.
What are the factors that EPA should consider when implementing the rule? What are the longer term implications of this rule in terms of both public health and the economy? What, if anything, should Congress do in reaction to this rule?