Mercury Rule Summary
The mercury rule components that were voted on last week are as follows. I will tell you what the rule says, what it means and why it is a problem. The board seems enamored with the term “soft landing” so I will point out to you the myriad of soft landings being provided by the rule. I count at least 7 soft landings in the following rule. There are a few more, but I won’t bore you with those details. In short, the current problems with the rule are:
- Gives agency almost unfettered discretion to establish emission limits
- Does not require honest mercury controls until 2018 (or beyond if a company uses banking).
- Sets a emission standard in 2018 that facilities could meet today.
- Gives weaker limits to lignite coal, the dirtiest type of coal in Montana.
- Encourages companies to burn lignite coal by giving them a weaker standard, despite the fact that Montana is loaded with higher quality coals.
- Allows cap and trade in Montana in perpetuity. Companies can buy and sell their way out of complying with emission limits.
- Establishes future limits based upon the weaker best available control technology standard and not the normal standard for hazardous air pollutants which is the stricter maximum achievable control technology standard. BACT is driven by economic factors. MACT is driven by what the best facilities in the country achieve.