What is the EPA January 2022 MATS Proposal?

Learn more about the EPA's announcement on January 31, 2022, regarding proposed changes to the Mercury and Air Toxin Standards (MATS).

What is the EPA’s January 2022 MATS Proposal?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made an announcement on January 31, 2022, regarding the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxin Standards (MATS) for power plants. The announcement proposes to revoke a reconsideration step made by the agency in May of 2020 and affirms that it is appropriate and necessary to regulate hazardous pollutants for coal and oil-fired electric generating units (EGUs).


What is MATS?

In December of 2011, the EPA announced standards to limit mercury, acid gases, and other toxic pollution from power plants. These standards are known as the Mercury and Air Toxin Standards (MATS). There have been multiple revisions to the MATS rule over the last decade, including these revisions published in September 2020. More information about the MATS regulations can be found on the MATS page of the EPA website.


Revocation of Previous Finding

On May 22, 2020, the EPA announced that it found it was not appropriate and necessary to regulate coal and oil-fired electric utility-generating steam units. This finding contradicted another of the agency’s findings in April 2016.


Under an Executive Order by President Biden, the EPA was to review the May 2020 finding and consider an action to rescind it. After careful consideration, the EPA set to revoke the previous finding and announced a proposal on January 31, 2020. The proposal would leave the current emissions standards unchanged but ensure the continuation of public health protections provided by MATS requirements. “Sound science makes it clear that we need to limit mercury and toxins in the air,” said current EPA Administrator Michael S. Reagan.


Additionally, the EPA is reviewing the previously completed Residual Risk and Technology Review (RTR) from April 25, 2016, that established the current emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), which are published in the Federal Register. The RTR is the agency’s procedure to analyze the available scientific data related to a topic and determine the appropriate exposure levels for a new standard.


A copy of the January 2022 proposal can be found on the EPA’s website. As part of this rulemaking, the EPA is soliciting comments on all aspects of the proposal.


We Can Help with Your MATS Compliance

If you have any questions about how the MATS proposal might affect your air emissions compliance and monitoring processes, please contact the ESC Spectrum Regulatory Services team.


Interested in learning more about regulations and staying in compliance? Read our Definitive Guide to Air Emissions Regulations.

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