U.S. EPA proposes changes to air pollution rule

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2011 3:38 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it has proposed changes to a rule that aims to cut smog-forming chemicals from power plants in 27 states. The changes could result in slightly more pollution, but save the measure's health benefits.

The changes in the so-called Cross State Air Pollution Rule will result in the government issuing 1 percent more credits to allow industry to pollute in 10 states, which could result in 1.3 percent more of the emissions, an EPA source said.

The EPA last month dropped a strong rule on ozone pollution after pressure from Republicans and industry said it would kill jobs and cost industry billions of dollars.

Thursday's change was a routine tweak of the rules and was based on new information about current pollution levels from local and state governments, the EPA said.

The health benefits of the rule would not be changed, it added. "Today's proposal will maintain the significant health benefits of the rule -- saving up to 34,000 lives a year," it said.

The proposal will go through a public comment period before the EPA issues a final standard.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Andrea Evans)