The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to stay and reconsider new source emission standards contained in its February 2012-finalized Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a letter from the agency’s assistant administrator, Gina McCarthy, shows.

The EPA received "several" petitions for administrative reconsideration after it finalized the rule, which is officially titled, "National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units." McCarthy’s July 20 letter was addressed to Patricia Barmeyer, an attorney for Atlanta-based law firm King  & Spalding LLP.

Those petitions raised issues associated with the new source emission standards contained in the final rule. "We intend to grant reconsideration of certain new source issues, 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, that may affect the new source standards," McCarthy wrote.

The focus of the reconsideration rulemaking will be "a review of issues that are largely technical in nature." Under the reconsideration rule, new coal- and oil-fired power plants will likely be required to install "the latest and most effective" pollution controls and be able to monitor compliance with the new standards, she said. The rule will strive to both protect health and the environment—in the same manner the February-finalized MATS rule—but it would also ensure "the standards for new sources are achievable and measurable," she added.

The final reconsideration rule is expected to be completed by March 2013. McCarthy said that the EPA would also soon issue a notice in the Federal Register that will stay the effectiveness of the new source emission standards for three months.

Source: EPA

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)