The US Senate has rejected a resolution that would nullify federal regulations that require fossil fuel fired power plants to incorporate pollution control technologies to reduce mercury and other hazardous air pollutants, reports Platts.

According to proponents, this decision will crush the economy and “effectively kill coal”. However, opponents have hit back by saying that half of the US’ utilities have already installed the necessary pollution equipment without facing economic hardship.

Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, coal and oil fired power plants must install and operate ‘maximum achievable control technology’, or MACT, by 2015 to prevent 90 per cent of the sector’s mercury emissions, among other air toxins.

The rule stems from provisions under the 1990 Clean Air Act.

Had the resolution cleared the Senate and the House of Representatives, President Barack Obama would have likely vetoed the measure as he has made the reduction of mercury emissions a priority of his administration, says Platts.

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