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Biden EPA Proposes New ‘Wastewater’ Regulations To Kill Off Coal Plants

The Biden administration proposed new rules that would impose stricter limits on the wastewater produced by coal-fired power plants, although companies could opt out by choosing to shut down their coal operations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday.

The proposed rule would require generators to completely eliminate all pollution from flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water, two common types of pollution, and impose stricter limits on a variety of chemical pollutants, including selenium, mercury and arsenic, the EPA announced Wednesday. To avoid the restrictions, some companies could instead comply by burning natural gas or shutting down coal-fired plants entirely, the Washington Post reported.

In meetings with industry before the rule was published Wednesday, some coal plant operators expressed a new interest in shutting down their coal-fired generators to EPA officials, the Post reported. The EPA has so far reported 74 coal-fired generators of electricity have made plans with regulators to either shut down or make the switch to gas, and officials told the Post that they anticipate the new policy will only push one additional coal-fired generator offline.

“Ensuring the health and safety of all people is EPA’s top priority, and this proposed rule represents an ambitious step toward protecting communities from harmful pollution while providing greater certainty for industry,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a press release.”EPA’s proposed science-based limits will reduce water contamination from coal-fired power plants and help deliver clean air, clean water, and healthy land for all.”

The new rule would eliminate roughly 584 million pounds of pollutants per year and cost roughly $200 million dollars in annual compliance costs, according to EPA estimates. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox told reporters Tuesday that the rule would likely translate to roughly 63 cents of additional costs per year for consumers, according to The Hill.

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John Hugh DeMastri

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John Hugh DeMastri

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