"If EPA were to delay the implementation of the Utility Toxic Rule ... it would undermine participants' business decisions and confidence in future market responses based on EPA's regulations," continued the letter, signed by Michael Bradley, executive director of the group’s clean air policy initiative.
"Needed regulatory certainty will result from EPA’s timely implementation of regulations consistent with the Clean Air Act, which is in the best interests of the electric industry, the market, and customers."
Mercury Rule 20 Years Overdue
While in the hot seat for an hour and 45 minutes Wednesday, Jackson patiently emphasized that many power plants have already met the standards laid out in the mercury rule because some states are ahead of the curve. And she added that the pollution control technologies are proven and widely available.
EPA estimates this rule will provide at least $120 billion in health benefits annually by avoiding: 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths; 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma; 440,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms; 26,000 hospital and emergency room visits and 1.9 million days of work or school missed due to illness.
"When it becomes final, the cleanup rule that the EPA is putting forward today will save lives, protect the health of millions of Americans and finally bring about an action that is 20 years overdue," American Lung Association president and chief executive officer Charles Connor said back when the rule was rolled out. "This must happen."
Boxer has absolutely no beef with that declaration. However, recognizing that the friction in her hearing room was too mighty for even her impassioned pleas to overcome, she appealed to Jackson to fill the peacemaker role.
Early on, Boxer smiled as she told Jackson she looked forward to hearing testimony that could "bring us all together."
"That's a big order," Jackson deadpanned before launching into her prepared remarks.