On April 27, 2017, the D.C. Circuit granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request to delay oral argument on EPA’s Supplemental Finding to Consider Costs for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal- and oil-fired generators. EPA requested the delay so that the Agency could review and potentially modify or revoke its finding that such standards are “appropriate and necessary” despite their cost. Thus, the case is currently held in abeyance and the court directed EPA to file status reports every 90 days.
However, all, or virtually all, power plants have already taken steps to comply with the MATS rule. Pollution control systems have been bought and installed, and emissions have been reduced in-line with the standards. With the benefit of hindsight, this issue brief estimates the amount of capital expended by coal-fired generators to comply with the MATS rule based on reporting by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis for the final MATS rule had projected significantly more retrofit activity to comply with MATS.