Coal, Nuclear

EPA to delay finalized section 316(b) cooling water intake rule for a year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will take another year to finalize standards for cooling water intake structures under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act. The standards are now scheduled to be final on June 27, 2013 per a modified settlement agreement between the EPA and plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

EPA filed a notice of data availability (NODA) in June to establish requirements for cooling water intake structures at existing power plants. The extension will allow EPA to complete analysis of the data, options and public comments on the NODAs prior to the rule being finalized.

NEI, in public comments submitted July 11, said the agency needed to adopt a flexible, technology-based requirement to protect marine life, and to treat new power plants the same as existing plants at the same site and make them subject to the same regulatory requirements.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said the delay shows that the EPA is taking on too much rulemaking.

“The 316(b) rule represents yet another major EPA regulation confronting America’s power sector that will contribute to higher electricity rates and job losses,” said committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) in a joint statement. “EPA continues to push major regulations without fully assessing the costs and consequences for consumers.”

Read the amended settlement here.

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