EPA to set new standards for water pollutants from coal power plants


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | July 30, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency is imposing new, more stringent standards on water pollution specifically from coal power plants.

The new standards are reinstating previous regulations that Former President Donald Trump’s administration rolled back. The agency announced the reinstatement on Monday, but it hopes the new rules will be finalized in 2023. Until then, coal power plants that are close to waterways still risk polluting them.

The EPA announced its intent to initiate the beginning of the new standard making process when it signed a Federal Register Notice. Public comment on the proposed rule changes will occur in fall 2022. The EPA first set federal limits on the levels of toxic metals discharged from power plants that entered waterways in 2015.

Some environmentalists are still disappointed that President Joe Biden’s administration is not taking quicker, immediate actions to prevent pollutants in waterways. The standards could take longer to enact even if they are finalized in 2023. Government Affairs Director for the Center for Biological Diversity, Brett Hartl told CNN earlier this week that new rules may not see implementation until 2026. He said waiting so long for implementation is not sufficient.

Muscatine, Council Bluffs cited for dirty air


Photo by Mike Willis.

Oooh, that smell. Can’t you smell that smell? Last week residents in Muscatine and across the state in Council Bluffs may have caught a whiff of something because both cities were cited for exceeding EPA air pollution limits.

Muscatine had too much sulfur dioxide wafting through its air, and Council Bluffs had too much lead.

Those unconcerned with air quality may contend that the true problems in these cases are associated with more stringent regulation. Last August the EPA’s allowance of sulfur dioxide grew stricter and in October 2008 strictness for the lead standard increased tenfold.

But both forms of pollution are regulated for a reason. Short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide can increase the likelihood of contracting asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or other lung and heart disease. And it can worsen the symptoms of those who already have such conditions. Continue reading