EPA to unveil air pollution limits that Republicans say are threat to power grid

The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil highly anticipated regulations on Wednesday aimed at curbing mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants. 

The agency said Tuesday that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will make a “significant Clean Air Act announcement” Wednesday at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. A source closely following the issue confirmed to The Hill that the agency will unveil its final mercury and air toxics standards.

Jackson will be joined at the event Wednesday afternoon by public health experts and industry representatives, EPA said. The agency did not name the officials.

The long-delayed final regulations, which would require plant operators to install technology that reduces emissions of mercury and other air toxics, have come under fire from industry groups and Republicans. Opponents say the rules will impose a major burden on the economy, cause power plants to shut down and threaten the reliability of the power grid.

The Obama administration has sought to push back on concerns about electric reliability in recent weeks. The Energy Department recently released a report that said the regulations won’t cause power outages.

Environmental and clean-air groups note that the regulations will generate major public health benefits. EPA says the rules will prevent up 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks and 120,000 asthma attacks annually.

EPA had been ordered to complete the rule Friday under a court-ordered deadline, but delayed public rollout until this week.

Read more about the regulations here.