Issue Date: May 10, 2004
EPA extends mercury emissions deadline
EPA has added three months to the date when it was to issue a long-delayed final regulation to limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. Because of a court order, the regulation was required this December, but EPA last week extended that date until March 2005. Also, the comment period on the proposed regulation that was to end in April was extended until June. EPA made the extensions at the urging of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 45 senators, state air regulators, and other groups displeased with EPA's proposal. They had urged EPA to withdraw the rule as well as allow more time for comments. EPA refused to withdraw the proposal. Utilities support EPA's plan, which backs off from tougher mercury emissions requirements hammered out by industry, environmental groups, and state regulators. However, environmental groups say the agency has received 450,000 comments opposing the rule. The December date had been set seven years ago, after EPA lost a suit brought by NRDC over past delays in issuing the mercury regulation.
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