"The Environmental Protection Agency is expected Friday to approve a tough new rule to limit emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxic substances from the country's power plants, according to people with knowledge of the new standard."
"Though mercury is a known neurotoxin that can be profoundly harmful to children and pregnant women, the air pollution rule has been more than 20 years in the making, repeatedly stymied because of objections from coal-burning utilities about the cost of installing pollution-control equipment.
The new regulation is not expected to differ markedly in its rigorous emissions targets and timetable from a draft rule proposed by the EPA in March, said people who were briefed in broad terms about it. Scheduled to be formally announced Monday, the rule follows on the heels of several Obama administration decisions to shelve environmental standards to mollify a sharply critical business community, including a high-profile decision this summer to halt new standards to cut smog.
Some analysts cautioned that the rule still could be delayed if it got caught up in the political horse-trading in Washington to pass spending legislation. Still, if it lands as expected, the long-awaited rule governing toxic substances is sure to rile powerful utilities and their congressional allies who have doggedly lobbied the administration over the last few weeks to weaken or delay the standards."