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