As the US warms up, the US government is looking to cut back on toxic coal mines in the Appalachian region.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new rules that will cut back coal mines’ exposure to mercury, arsenic and other toxic chemicals.
These new rules have been approved by the Trump administration.
The coal industry has long struggled with mercury contamination and has been sued by environmental groups over their health risks.
But now, the EPA is considering capping the amount of mercury that can be released into the air.
Mercury can cause kidney, liver and brain damage.
EPA says it’s best to reduce the amount that can go into the atmosphere.
In a statement, the agency said it will begin limiting the amount mercury can reach ground level by 2025, with the goal of reducing the release by 60% by 2040.
“The EPA’s mercury pollution rulemaking is aimed at helping to address a significant health problem in the region,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement.
“We’re also moving to a national mercury policy, which will allow states to establish their own mercury pollution limits and require EPA to set a national standard for mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.”
Pruitt said the rule will help to reduce mercury emissions from coal power plants in the United States, as well as the effects of mercury poisoning in coal-dependent regions.
“This rule will also provide a strong framework for coal-burning power plant owners to implement other steps to reduce and manage mercury pollution,” Pruitt said.
The EPA has been reviewing the new rules for more than two years.
The rule is currently being finalized.
According to EPA, mercury pollution in coal mining can cause problems including cancer, birth defects, heart disease and cognitive decline.
The EPA says the coal industry needs to reduce these health risks and develop more effective pollution controls.
The agency is also studying how to make it easier for coal mines to close their doors.
The agency is asking for comments on how the EPA can reduce mercury pollution that is discharged into the environment.