The Biden administration will revise a 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.
Agency officials said 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 by the end of 2024, after a required public comment period.
However, for now, 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.
— © The New York Times Co.