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The action sets the first national standard for mercury air emissions from industrial gold production, the seventh largest source of mercury air emissions in the country. Like the agency's silver regulations, the rule was largely built by copying Nevada's rule for controlling mercury emissions from precious metal mining.
According the agency's press release, there are about 20 or so facilities that extract gold from ore that will need to meet the requirements of the rule within three years. Some facilities in Nevada already are making significant progress toward the federal requirements under that state's program.
The agency under President Obama has been approaching the regulation of newer substances, including mercury and greenhouse gases, with an industry-by-industry approach. Sewage sludge incinerators, as well as dentists and Portland cement, were added to copper mining, and coal-fired power plants as target industries for mercury controls this year.
SOURCE: EPA press release