EPA delays finalizing Section 316(b) rule

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement that it will miss a deadline to finalize standards for cooling water intake structures under the Clean Water Act. This is the fifth time EPA has missed a deadline to finalize the rule since 2011.

EPA was set to finalize the rule on Jan. 14, but the agency said in a statement that it was still working with everyone involved.

“EPA is working to complete the final rule for cooling water intakes as soon as possible, but will not complete the rule by the settlement deadline of January 14, 2014,” the statement said. “EPA is in discussions with the parties to the settlement agreement about the timing for completing the rule.”

In November 2010, EPA signed a settlement agreement with Riverkeeper to propose standards by March 14, 2011 and finalize them by July 27, 2012. On March 11, the parties amended the previous agreement to extend the date to March 28, 2011. Another amendment was signed on July 17, 2012 to extend the date for the final rule until June 27, 2013. Another amendment extended the finalized date to November 4, 2013, but the date was extended again until January 14, 2014, after the two-week government shutdown.

The rule requires the best available technology to be used on cooling water intake structures to protect against the impingement and entrainment of aquatic life. The rule would cover about 670 existing power plants

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