Clean Air Act updated

New regulations aim to curb emissions of mercury and other poisons

Coal- and oil-fueled power plants will face new emissions requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency slated to take effect three years from now, the Washington Post reports.

The new regulations come as an update to the Clean Air Act and will force plants to control emissions of mercury and other poisons—including arsenic, acid gas, nickel and cyanide—for the first time and likely will close some of the country’s oldest and dirtiest plants. There are currently 14,000 coal- and oil-fueled plants in the United States.

The EPA estimates that the regulations will cost the industry $9.6 billion in 2016, but that same year will prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks and save between $37 billion and $90 billion in health costs.

Opponents warned of lawsuits and a Republican-backed bill that could be introduced next year to block the regulations.