EPA seeks public comment on water pollution from coal plants

BY DAVID NICHOLAS

Environmental groups are claiming that energy generating stations, and specifically coal fired power plants, are the leading cause of water pollution.

Standards were established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1982, but advocates said that, to date, the standards have not covered all pollutants.

In April of this year, the first ever comprehensive national standards were proposed by the EPA, and would either eliminate or limit the discharge of pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, lead, selenium, cadmium and boron.

The EPA has opened a public comment period through September 20.

“What we know is that the state has twenty-one active coal-fired power plants and only eight of them have any permit that limits the dumping of any toxic metal,” said Nic Clark with Clean Water Action. “So we’ve got at least sixteen or so coal fired plants in Michigan that are discharging toxic wastewater directly into the Great Lakes and waterways every day.”

“The reason why we’re calling for folks to make their voice heard by sending a comment to the EPA before the deadline of September 20th,” Clark said, “is so that should there be any new plants and certainly looking at existing plants that we need to have the strongest regulation possible, particularly here in the state of Michigan. The law allows states to set other standards in absence of a federal rule but what’s happened over the last thirty years is that state level regulation has been lagging.”

There is no projected date for a final ruling on the proposed standards.

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