Text: H.R.821 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/03/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 821


To amend the Clean Air Act to require that mercury emissions from electric utility steam generating units be subject to the MACT standard for hazardous air pollutants, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 3, 2009

Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas (for herself and Mr. Grijalva) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


A BILL

To amend the Clean Air Act to require that mercury emissions from electric utility steam generating units be subject to the MACT standard for hazardous air pollutants, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Mercury Emissions Reduction Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings and purpose.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds the following:

(1) Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cause adverse health effects at very low concentrations.

(2) Coal-fired electric powerplants, or electric generating units, are the leading source of United States air emissions of mercury. When released into the atmosphere, mercury a potent neurotoxin that can have adverse health effects at low concentrations.

(3) Concerns about public exposure to mercury have grown in recent years as research has indicated its presence at significant levels in numerous species of fish, and as analyses of dietary intake and resulting blood levels have pointed to potential health risks from mercury ingestion, particularly for women of child-bearing age and developing fetuses.

(4) According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Listing of Fish Advisories, there are approximately 3,852 advisories in 48 of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, 2 of the 4 territories, and 5 Indian tribes. Forty-four States have issued fish consumption advisories due to mercury.

(5) With the exception of electric utilities, section 112 of the Clean Air Act regulates all major sources of mercury emissions through Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT).

(6) The EPA was required by the terms of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and a 1998 consent agreement to determine whether regulation of mercury from powerplants under section 112 of the Clean Air Act was appropriate and necessary.

(7) In a December 2000 regulatory finding, the EPA concluded that regulation of mercury from powerplants was appropriate and necessary. The finding triggered other provisions of the consent agreement: That the agency propose Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards for electric powerplants by December 15, 2003, and finalize them by March 15, 2005.

(8) In 2005, the EPA discarded its 2000 regulatory finding for a national cap-and-trade system for mercury emissions from powerplants, the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR).

(9) The CAMR rule was immediately challenged in petitions for review filed by New Jersey and 16 other States as well as other petitioners. The DC Circuit, in a 3–0 decision handed down February 8, 2008, vacated the rule. The court found that once the EPA had listed electric generating units as a source of hazardous air pollutants, it had to proceed with MACT regulations under section 112 of the Act unless it delisted the source category, under procedures the Act sets forth in section 112(c)(9).

(b) Purpose.—The purpose of this Act is to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate a rule for mercury emissions from electric utility steam generating units be subject to MACT standards under section 112 of the Clean Air Act for hazardous air pollutants.

SEC. 3. Mercury from electric utility steam generating units.

Section 112(c)(6) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412(c)(6)) is amended by inserting “(A)” after “(6)”, by striking the last sentence, and by adding the following new subparagraph at the end thereof:

“(B) The Administrator shall promulgate standards under this section for mercury emissions from electric utility steam generating units to take effect one year after the enactment of this subparagraph.”.