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Prior to his nomination as EPA Administrator, Michael Regan served as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). As Secretary, he spearheaded the development and implementation of North Carolina's seminal plan to address climate change and transition the state to a clean energy economy. Under his leadership, he secured the largest coal ash clean-up in United States history. He led complex negotiations regarding the clean-up of the Cape Fear River, which had been contaminated for years by the toxic chemicals per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS). In addition, he established North Carolina's first-of-its-kind Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory board to better align social inequities, environmental protection, and community empowerment.


EPA Moves to Undo Trump’s Coal Wastewater Rollback

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday it is kicking off a new rulemaking process to pass stricter requirements for how coal power plants dispose of wastewater, undoing a major rollback implemented in the last year of the Trump administration.

Wastewater pollution from coal plants is poured into nearby rivers and streams and often contains toxic metals including arsenic, lead and mercury, which seriously harm marine life and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and other health problems.

Despite the change, the Biden administration said it does not plan to immediately reinstate the stricter requirements that were in effect before the rollback, and instead will allow the current system to stay in place while working to strengthen those rules.

The administration said it feared asking a court to revert back to the pre-Trump standard, put in place by former President Obama in 2015, because it could result in reverting to a previous, even more lax 1982 standard. However, by not enforcing stricter rules now, toxic wastewater can continue flowing into waterways for several more years.

“If their timeline is 2024, that’s four years of damage,” Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Washington Post. “The industry is getting the better end of the deal out of this.”

Sources: Washington Post $, CNNReuters $, New York Times $, Bloomberg Law $, Courthouse NewsThe Independent

This is a quick news brief from Nexus Media. (Image added by editor.)

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