Compliance Delay: Toxic Water Rule (Coal Ash) for Power Plants
Comment period ended July 6, 2017
EPA established federal water quality limits on levels of toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from power plants. On an annual basis, the rule is projected to reduce the amount of toxic metals, nutrients, and other pollutants that steam electric power plants are allowed to discharge by 1.4 billion pounds and reduce water withdrawal by 57 billion gallons.
In response to industry petitions for reconsideration, the Trump EPA on June 6 proposed to postpone certain compliance dates in these effluent limitations guidelines and standards for power plants.
Background information from Clean Water Action:
Rollback of air pollution standards for methane and VOC’s – oil and gas sector
Comment period ended August 9, 2017
The Trump Administration wants to delay and weaken emission controls that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and asthma-inducing smog. The public comment period is ongoing; comments must be received on or before 11:59 pm August 9.
EPA has proposed to delay key elements of methane air quality emissions standards for the oil and gas sector. These air quality standards would protect public health while reducing greenhouse gas emission. Methane is a “super-pollutant” with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide.1
Methane also contributes to ozone in our breathing zone (ground-level ozone, or “smog”). Exposure to ozone is linked to a wide range of health effects, including severe asthma attacks, increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and premature death.
The oil and gas sector is the country’s largest emitter of methane. Many kinds of equipment used in the oil and gas sector leak methane. The oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a group of chemicals that also contribute to ground-level ozone (smog). In addition to forming smog, many VOCs are also toxic to humans.
EPA finalized air quality standards to control methane and VOC emissions from the oil and gas sector in May 2016. The Trump Administration wants to stop EPA and the States from implementing these methane pollution controls while it rolls back the air quality standards for methane emissions.
For information on the rule, the rollback proposal, and talking points, see Methane Rule.
1 Los Angeles Times, “Opinion: Methane is a ‘super pollutant’ that the federal government must help keep out of our air,” March 2, 2017.