Thursday, September 14, 2017

EPA postpones Obama-era limits on toxic metals in wastewater from coal-fired power plants

Federal regulators have delayed until 2020 an Obama-era rule that set new limits on pollutants such as lead, mercury and arsenic in the wastewater of coal-fired power plants.

"The Environmental Protection Agency’s move 'resets the clock' for the effluent guidelines for power plants, providing relief to the plants from existing regulatory deadlines while the agency studies the regulation, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. The plants now will have until Nov. 1 2020 to comply with the rule, instead of Nov. 1, 2018," Timothy Gardner and Eric Walsh report for Reuters.

Pruitt announced plans to delay the rule back in August. The Small Business Administration and the Utility Water Act Group had both petitioned the EPA to delay the rule, which environmental groups supported. "EPA estimates that annual compliance costs to coal plants, once the rule goes into effect, will be $480 million. Benefits associated with the pollution reductions will be worth $451 million to $566 million a year, it estimates," Gardner and Walsh report.

The delay is one of several by President Trump's administration to walk back President Obama's tougher environmental standards, some affecting farmers, some affecting coal and oil industries.

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