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EPA Clean Power Rules Delayed

PHOTO: Carbon pollution rules for coal power plants have been delayed at least until midsummer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club.
PHOTO: Carbon pollution rules for coal power plants have been delayed at least until midsummer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club.
January 9, 2015

WASHINGTON - Rules designed to reduce carbon emissions from coal-power plants are being delayed, with the Environmental Protection Agency saying there may need to be clarifications related to technology and opponents accusing the agency of buying time to stop Republican leaders in Congress from scrapping the plan.

Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, is the top air-pollution official at the agency. In making the announcement, she noted that 4 million public comments have been submitted.

"People all across the country care deeply about this issue," she said, "and we're confident that the end result will be a final Clean Power Plan to cut harmful carbon pollution and to do so in a way that strengthens the economy and creates new jobs."

The three parts of the plan cover new power plants, existing plants and modified facilities. According to the EPA, coal plants are the largest single source of carbon pollution in the nation. The rules covering new plants were expected to become final this week. All three now are scheduled for midsummer.

In Congress, GOP leaders have promised they will take action to prevent the rules from being finalized, or cancel them when they become final.

McCabe announced a new piece of the package, rules that will put a state-based carbon-reduction plan in place for states that don't design their own.

"EPA's strong preference is that states will submit their own plan tailored to their specific needs and priorities," she said. "We believe that states will want to do that here."

A dozen states are suing the EPA over the rules, as is the country's largest privately held coal-mining company, Murray Energy Corp.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV