EPA issues long-delayed power plant mercury limits, but challenges await

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued a long-awaited rule to force power plants to cut mercury and toxic air pollution in a move hailed by President Barack Obama as a "major step forward" in the protection of public health and the environment.

"This is a great victory for public health, especially for the health of children," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson declared at an unveiling event at Children's National Medical Center in Washington.

The so-called utility MACT rule gives utilities and power companies up to four years to comply, and lets them seek an additional year on a case-by-case basis if needed to maintain reliable power supplies.

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