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Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 11:54am

EPA Reconsiders Coal Plant Rules

The Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering the first federal standards for air pollution. The decision could impact a coal-fired power plant planned for middle Georgia.

The EPA will review pollution limits for new power plants. Officials say it provides greater certainty for five new plants planned across the country including Plant Washington in Sandersville.

Dean Alford is with Power4Georgians, the group developing the plant. He says the EPA is considering three of the changes.

“They’re looking at the mercury rule. They’re looking at the particulate matter, and they’re also looking at hydrochloric acid, and those are three pollutants that they are reconsidering as part of the resource standard.”

But Katherine Cummings with the Fall Line Alliance for a Clean Environment is opposed to Plant Washington. She says she hopes the rules will remain unchanged.

“I look at stricter mercury regulations as sort of a buy-one get-one free. Because if you improve the air quality with fewer emissions, then whatever is emitted that eventually ends up either on the soil or in our rivers or creeks, they’ll just be less of it.”

EPA officials say the reconsideration is a routine tool used to make sure standards are achievable and improve public health. When fully implemented in 2016, the standards will cut emissions by up to 90%.