EPA Re-ssues Tighter Air Quality Rules

The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, having seen a Federal appeals court throw out its new clean air rules two years ago, has now reformulated those rules in ways expected to pass muster. According to the agency, the new rules will avert up to 36,000 premature deaths at a compliance cost of $2.8 billion, besides producing other significant health benefits.  Though the implied estimate of fatalities from coal-fired generation may seem high, it's consistent with the latest and most authoritative assessment of mortality and morbidity associated with U.S. air pollution. It's to be assumed that many utilities and energy companies will opt to shut down some of their oldest and dirtiest coal-fired plants, rather that install expensive pollution abatement equipment, and that as a result,  coal's share in U.S. electricity generation will continue to shrink.

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