EPA proposes water pollution rules for power plants
By Zack Colman - 04/19/13 05:19 PM ET
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new regulations Friday that aim to reduce water pollution near nuclear and fossil fuel-fired power plants.
The rules would require power plants to install pollution control technology and implement waste-treatment procedures in a phased approach between 2017 and 2022. The department said fewer than half of the 500 coal-fired power plants affected by the rules would incur costs.
“Reducing the pollution of our waters through effective but flexible controls such as we are proposing today is a win-win for our public health and our economic vitality. We look forward to hearing from all stakeholders on the best way forward,” EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said in a Friday statement.
The proposed rules will go through a 60-day public comment period. The EPA must finalize the rules by May 22, 2014.
The measures will likely attract challenges from industry and Republicans who have opposed regulations affecting coal-fired power plants issued through the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
The EPA said the proposed rules, which it issued through the Clean Water Act, would reduce pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, lead and selenium that enter waterways through coal ash and other waste from steam electric power plants.
The agency said those pollutants have been linked to neurological and circulatory damage, as well as cancer and kidney and liver problems.
The American Public Health Association applauded the department's move.
“Toxic heavy metals have no place in our drinking water or on our dinner plate,” Georges Benjamin, the group’s executive director, said in a Friday statement.
The EPA estimated the rules would slash pollutant discharges by 470 million to 2.62 billion pounds annually. It also projected the measures would save 50 billion to..