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New EPA mercury regs to cut emissions by 70 percent

[JURIST] The Environmental Protection Agency [official website] Tuesday issued new mercury regulations for power plants that are designed to reduce emissions to 70 percent of 1999 levels once fully implemented. The Clean Air Mercury Rule [preliminary text, PDF] uses a market-based cap-and-trade program similar to that in the recently announced [JURIST report] Clean Air Interstate Rule to cut emissions of coal-fired power plants. The rule has drawn criticism from some that a market-based program could result in mercury "hot-spots," or concentrated levels of mercury at power plants that buy credits rather than cut emissions. Proponents of the rule have countered that cap-and-trade programs are a more efficient means to cut emissions than other options. The Ban Mercury Working Group [advocacy website] also criticized the administration's failure to participate [Ban Mercury Working Group press release] in a United Nations Environment Program [official website] forum on developing international strategies [UNEP press release] for mercury reduction. Read the EPA press release and more on the mercury rule. AP has more.

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