For the first time in more than a decade, EPA will strengthen limits on mercury and other toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants, the agency announced Wednesday. The new rule will cut mercury, lead, nickel, and arsenic pollution from coal plants by as much as 70% from the levels established by the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards set out in 2012 and will also lower nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate pollution. The announcement comes two days after the White House announced it plans to disburse $450 million to aid the development of solar and clean energy projects on the sites of current and former coal mines.

The EPA estimates the public health benefits of the rule will be between $2.4 billion and $3 billion due to the prevention of deaths or hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular disease and cost industry roughly one-eighth of that amount. The EPA’s cost/benefit assessment of the rule could be strengthened by the Inflation Reduction Act. (Washington Post $, AP, E&E News, New York Times $, The Hill, Politico Pro $, Reuters; IRA E&E News)