US President Joe Biden will revise the Trump-era rule that allowed many coal-fired power plants to avoid or delay installing equipment that could prevent lead, selenium and other toxic pollutants from seeping into rivers and streams, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday (local time).
New York Times reported quoting agency officials, that in the fall, they will formally propose a new rule strengthening standards overseeing how coal-fired power plants that use steam to generate electricity are permitted to dispose of contaminated wastewater. They hope to finalize the rule in 2024, after a required public comment period.
Meantime, though, the EPA will continue to enforce former President Donald Trump's weaker standard and continue to defend it in court, where environmental groups have challenged its legality. Clean water advocates called the EPA decision disappointing.
"In our mind, vacating the Trump rule is the fastest way to get to a world where you're cracking down on this heavy metal pollution," said Bret Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that was among a group of organizations that have mounted a legal challenge to Trump's policy.
In 2015 the Obama administration required coal plants to upgrade their wastewater systems to treat the heavy metals. In 2020, the Trump administration reversed much of that policy as part of a sweeping effort to revitalize the declining coal industry, and gave electricity companies more time and flexibility to meet the standards, New York Times further reported. (ANI)