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WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's emission standards for hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
The new regulations are designed to clean the air of toxins such as mercury, lead and arsenic, which contribute to respiratory illnesses, birth defects and developmental problems in children.
In its ruling, the court rejected state and industry challenges to the rules. Industry groups argue it would cost billions of dollars annually to comply with the new rules and the EPA overstates their benefits.
When the rules were brought forward three years ago, there were no limits on how much mercury or other toxic pollutants could be released from a power plant's smokestacks.
The EPA calls the decision "a victory for public health and the environment," adding that the new standards will "prevent heart and asthma attacks" and slash emissions that can impair children's ability to learn.
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