File this on top of the increasingly-large stack of policies on the back-burner for decades that the Obama Administration is finally implementing.
Wednesday, at long last, the EPA unveiled its new rule covering mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. [...]
But this one is a Big Deal. It’s worth lifting our heads out of the news cycle and taking a moment to appreciate that history is being made. Finally controlling mercury and toxics will be an advance on par with getting lead out of gasoline. It will  save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. It will make America a more decent, just, and humane place to live. [...]
Third, this has been a long time coming. (Nicholas Bianco has some good history here.) An assessment of mercury was part of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. EPA stalled and stalled, got sued, and finally did the assessment. Sure enough, as had been known for years, they found mercury is harmful to public health. Then more stalling and more stalling until the Bush administration’s malformed 2004 proposal, which instantly got caught up in (and struck down by) the courts. So when the mercury rule finally goes into effect in 2014, 24 years will have passed since Congress said mercury needs regulating. It’s been a fight for enviros every step of the way.
Twenty two years ago Congress agreed that Mercury should be regulated, and now it’s finally going to become a reality under President Obama’s watch.
Do you really believe this would happen under a President Gingrich, President Paul, or President Romney? It would “kill jobs” they would say. It would be too costly. Or in Ron Paul’s case, it would be “an infringement on our individual right to die by poison.”
And as previously noted, our current congress has voted no less than 191 times to undermine environmental regulations. Because both parties are the same, right?
I recommend reading the full context provided by David Roberts at Grist. He’s right, it is a very big deal.