WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday rolled back Obama administration rules limiting levels of toxic materials in waste water released from coal plants, its latest effort to slash environmental regulations for the coal industry as the Trump administration’s first term winds down.
The EPA finalized “effluent limitations” for two types of waste from coal plants, a savings of $140 million annually for industry.
“Newer, more affordable pollution control technologies and flexibility on the regulation’s phase-in will reduce pollution and save jobs at the same time,” agency administrator Andrew Wheeler said.
A senior EPA official said the final rule would reduce pollution by nearly a million pounds per year over the 2015 rule, though environmental groups said the rollback lets industry use cheaper, less effective treatment methods on polluted wastewater that puts waterways at risk. The changes apply to flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater and bottom ash transport waste. The rollback eases requirements for how they are treated before being released, offers a “flexible, phase-in approach” for implementation and pushes back compliance dates.
Financial Post, 31 August 2020