EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB)

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants Residual Risk and Technology Review and Cost Review - Advice and comment on the science supporting the proposed rule

EPA Designated Federal Officer (DFO):Thomas Armitage
202-564-2155
armitage.thomas@epa.gov
Responsible Committee/Panel:SAB

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BACKGROUND
Under the SAB's authorizing statute, the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978, the SAB "may make available to the Administrator, within the time specified by the Administrator, its advice and comments on the adequacy of the scientific and technical basis" of proposed rules.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a revision to its response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. EPA which held that the EPA erred by not considering cost in its determination that regulation under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units (EGUs) is appropriate and necessary. After considering the cost of compliance relative to the HAP benefits of regulation, the EPA proposes to find that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate HAP emissions from coal and oil-fired EGUs.

The EPA is also proposing the results of the residual risk and technology review (RTR) of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) that the Agency is required to conduct in accordance with CAA section 112. EPA's residual risk analysis indicates that residual risks due to emissions of air toxics from this source category are acceptable and that the current standards provide an ample margin of safety to protect public health.

A workgroup of the EPA Science Advisory Board considered whether the SAB should review the science supporting the proposed rule. The workgroup found that the SAB should provide scientific advice on whether appropriate consideration of cost is incorporated into the proposed rule. The workgroup also found that the SAB should review whether the Residual Risk and Technology Review methodolgy has been correctly applied. The full SAB considered the workgoup's recommendations and decided that the SAB should provide advice and comment on the science supporting the proposed rule.