EPA to rewrite limits for coal power plant wastewater

Administrator Scott Pruitt released Monday said he will seek to revise the 2015 guidelines mandating increased treatment for wastewater from steam electric power-generating plants.

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WASHINGTON, AUG 15, 2017 -- The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to scrap an Obama-era measure limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants, PBS reports.

A letter from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released Monday said he will seek to revise the 2015 guidelines mandating increased treatment for wastewater from steam electric power-generating plants.

Electric utilities have been vocal about their opposition to the stricter standards.

"After carefully considering your petitions, I have decided that it is appropriate and in the public interest to conduct a rulemaking to potentially revise (the regulations)," Pruitt wrote in the letter addressed to the pro-industry Utility Water Act Group and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Pruitt's letter, dated Friday, was filed Monday with the Fifth Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which is hearing legal challenges of the wastewater rule. EPA has asked to court to freeze the legal fight while Pruitt rewrites the rule; leaving the guidelines from 1982 in effect. "Power plants are by far the largest offenders when it comes to dumping deadly toxics into our lakes and rivers," said Thomas Cmar, a lawyer for the legal advocacy group Earthjustice. "It's hard to believe that our government officials right now are so beholden to big business that they are willing to let power plants continue to dump lead, mercury, chromium and other dangerous chemicals into our water supply."

Only about 12 percent of the nation's steam electric power plants would have to make new investments to meet the higher standards, according to the agency.

Read more here.

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