Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in Virginia
EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) - the first ever national limits on mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants – will improve people’s health by requiring power plants that contribute to air pollution in Virginia to use widely available, proven pollution control technologies to protect families from pollutants like mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases.
These new standards will prevent up to 300 premature deaths in Virginia while creating up to $2.5 billion in health benefits in 2016.
More about MATS
- The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will save thousands of lives and provide important health protections to the most vulnerable, like children and older Americans. The standards will slash toxic emissions nationwide and prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, and 130,000 asthma attacks each year.
- These achievable standards comply with a law that has been in place for nearly two decades. To develop these standards, EPA worked extensively with a broad array of stakeholders, including the public, environmental and health groups and industry, receiving over 900,000 public comments which helped inform the final standard.
- Until now there were no national limits on emissions of mercury and other air toxics from power plants. Toxic air pollutants like mercury -- a neurotoxin -- can damage children’s developing brains, reducing their IQ and their ability to learn.
- These standards will put an end to 20 years of industry uncertainty and level the playing field for power plants across the country - over half of which are already using widely available pollution control technology and are forced to compete with facilities that have taken advantage of loopholes, or with aging plants, often 40 years old or older, that have never been updated with modern pollution controls.
Please see the following technical documents for more information about the benefits for MATS: