As expected, the US EPA today reaffirmed its pro-polluter stance on electric power company emissions. (See below.) As we noted last week, the agency had agreed to reconsider the controversial “new source review” changes that have been put on hold by a federal court.
The Bush administration changes essentially would allow big polluters, including coal-burning electric power companies, to avoid upgrading pollution controls in many cases.
This means that environmental groups and various state attorneys general will continue court action to overturn the illegal changes.
The announcement comes only days after a federal judge (appointed by President Bush) issued an opinion which sided with a power company in a pending enforcement case. The Bush judge basically said she didn’t think the rules should be considered valid anymore because the Bush Administration is trying to change them. Former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman resigned rather than issue these pro-industry rules because she feared they could undermine the court cases.
News for Release: Monday, June 6, 2005
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
New Source Review Response Stresses Improvements to Permitting Program
Contact: Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355 / email@example.com
(Washington, D.C.-June 6, 2005) EPA responded on June 6, 2005 to petitions for reconsideration from a number of stakeholders on the Equipment Replacement Provision (ERP) of the Agency's New Source Review
(NSR) permitting program. After carefully considering the comments received during the reconsideration process, EPA determined that the ERP should be maintained as adopted in 2003.
EPA continues to believe that the October 2003 ERP rulemaking is fully justified and will provide much needed clarification to the NSR program while still ensuring environmental protection. The ERP offers certainty for industrial facilities by clearly spelling out that the NSR program should not stand as a barrier to equipment replacement activities needed to assure the safe, efficient, and reliable operation of manufacturing facilities.
The ERP, in conjunction with other programs such as the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Acid Rain Program and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, preserves public health protections provided by the Clean Air Act through the NSR program. Under the ERP facilities cannot increase their emissions past their current Clean Air Act limits.
For additional information on the New Source Review Program visit: