Sierra Club Supports EPA’s Air Toxics Announcement

Biden EPA Reverses Trump Guidance on Mercury and Air Toxics

Jonathon Berman,

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, President Biden’s EPA announced a proposal to reverse the Trump Administration’s decision eliminating the “appropriate and necessary” finding for regulating mercury and other hazardous air pollution from power plants. The move comes after an executive order signed by President Biden last year to review the Trump-era rollback and develop a new proposal. 

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), finalized in 2012, limits hazardous pollutants like mercury, arsenic, and hydrochloric acid. EPA estimated MATS would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths per year. In 2020, the Trump Administration’s EPA, led by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, undermined the standard by eliminating the “appropriate and necessary” finding, dismissing the standards’ enormous public health benefits as insufficient to justify their cost to polluters.

Today’s proposal takes Americans’ health into account by including health improvements and other public benefits in its cost-benefit analysis.

In response, Patrick Drupp, Deputy Legislative Director for Climate and Clean Air released the following statement:

“With today’s announcement, President Biden’s EPA is taking a critical first step in protecting communities – in particular, communities of color – from dangerous, toxic pollution from coal plants. Communities across the country continue to be saddled with  poor air quality. As a result, our families – and especially our children and the elderly – have been burdened with skyrocketing cases of asthma, heart attacks, and premature deaths. 

“President Biden’s EPA must now strengthen the MATS rule. No amount of toxic pollution is acceptable in the air we breathe, especially when there are feasible, cost effective means of protecting public health.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit