The EPA’s boiler maximum available control technology (MACT) rule unveiled yesterday is cause for celebration, and a long time coming. For the first time, coal fired power plants and industrial boilers must conform to a set of performance standards that will limit mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxic emissions.
The backlash from some corporate entities and their congressional allies is to be expected. However, the fact is that their industrial endeavors won’t really be hampered significantly, and the national benefits far outweigh isolated cost increases. Roughly 50 percent of the coal fired plants in the U.S. are over 40 years old and have never bothered to address emissions issues. Thankfully, the boiler MACT rule will enforce standards that will save American lives.
The new standards will prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma, and avoid tens of thousands of heart attacks, according to the EPA. These health benefits will yield billions of dollars of savings nationally in the long run. Further, this is representative of yet another step in the right direction not only for the environmental movement, but our nation’s energy economy as well. We are lagging behind almost every other nation in the developed world in terms of phasing out decrepit coal fired operations. We must embrace forward thinking energy initiatives if we wish to remain a world leader in energy production. Finally, we are taking steps at assuming that role.