U.S. extends comment time on power plant toxics rule

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 22, 2011 12:24 PM
U.S. extends comment time on power plant toxics rule

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it has extended the comment timeline by 30 days on a draft rule on reducing mercury emissions and other toxic pollution from power plants but left the target for finalization of the rule unchanged.

The EPA proposed the rules in March that could force aging coal-fired power plants to chose between installing anti-pollution technology or shutting.

The agency took public comment on the rules for 60 days and extended it by 30 days on Tuesday, "in our effort to be responsive to Congress and to build on the robust public comment process," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a release.

The agency expects the rule will be finalized in November.

Many Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have urged the EPA to slow down the roll-out of air pollution rules because they say they will hurt jobs.

But the EPA says the rules must go forward because they will protect human health. When the rule is finalized it will assist in preventing 11,000 heart attacks, and 17,000 premature deaths, the agency says.

Some power companies such as Calpine Corp have invested in technology to cut pollution and support the rules.

American Electric Power, one of the country's largest coal burners, said it plans to retire nearly a quarter of its coal fleet and retrofit other units to comply with proposed environmental regulations.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)