As expected the Environmental Protection Agency administrator has announced that reductions in mercury emissions from coal fired power stations will become mandatory, probably by 2004.

Under the Clean Air Act the EPA is required to study toxic air pollution from power plants in order to determine if new or modified regulations are necessary for the protection of public health. EPA reported its findings to Congress in 1998, concluding that mercury posed the greatest threat and that the largest source of man-made mercury pollution in the US was coal-fired power plants.

EPA says that it will propose regulations by December 2003 and will begin developing them shortly. Industry, the public and all levels of government will have the opportunity to participate, and to help them, EPA has posted on its website ( details of mercury emissions from every coal fired power station in the United States. Wth the consultation process completed, final regulations will be issued by the end of 2004.