The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be backpedaling on an air-quality regulation that would require power plants in 27 states to slash emissions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution rule, put in place just three months ago, was projected to prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths a year by imposing stricter limits on emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, or SO2, from coal and natural gas-fired power plants beginning in January 1012.
According to the WSJ however, pressure from some states, industry and Congress is persuading the EPA to allow higher emissions.
The changes are expected to allow for emissions increases ranging from 1% to 4% above the July requirement, depending on the pollutant, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources said to be familiar with the matter.
EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan was quoted by the newspaper as saying:
“While we don’t have anything to announce at this time, EPA often makes technical adjustments … because data, including data in some cases provided by industry, turns out to be incorrect, outdated or incomplete.”
While environmentalists had welcomed the EPA rule as a victory for clean air and public health, opponents argued it would kill jobs and could make transmission of electricity unreliable.