The Environmental Protection Agency has drafted a new rule that would require power plants to make major cutbacks on emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxins.
Though not finalized, environmental groups lauded the proposed regulation, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule.
PennEnvironment Field Director Adam Garber says the EPA is estimating the standard would reduce mercury emissions by about 91% from major polluters like power plants, especially coal-fired plants.
Mercury has been shown to cause neurological damage to unborn children, and several of the other air toxins addressed by the rule are tied to cancer and asthma.
Garber says the energy industry has fought the regulation for years and will probably continue to debate it in a series of public hearings this summer.
He says if the public comment phase goes smoothly, the regulation should be in place late this year or early in 2012.