Granny Rant
Saturday, November 15, 2003
::: Lessons From The Blackout :::

[...] ...Policy change by the Environmental Protection Agency that lawyers
at the agency say will lead it to drop investigations of 50 power plants for
Clean Air Act violations.

Elliot Spitzer, Attorney General of New York is demanding EPA turn over all
documents from an investigation into EPA rule change that will lead to the
agency dropping investigations of 50 power plants for Clean Air Act violations.

Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, calls for Judiciary Committee hearings.

Senator Charles Schumer, D-New York, wants inspector general to investigate
whether EPA exceeded its authority.

"I am concerned that E.P.A. has basically announced to the power industry
that it can now pollute with impunity," Mr. Schumer said.

Wow, and now there is something new called New Source Review.

Enforcement lawyers at the agency say they were told this week that it would
pursue investigations only if it could prove that plants were in violation of new,
more lenient standard that the agency issued last month under the so-called
New Source Review program.

Under the old rules, plants that were modernized in ways that increased
harmful emissions generally had to install more pollution controls. Under
the new rules, any renovation costing no more than one-fifth of a power-
generating unit's value would be exempted from the requirement for new
pollution-control devices.

The utility industry and the Bush administration have argued that the
old rules were too costly and inefficient and that the new rules and
other proposed changes will reduce pollutants.

Agency lawyers and environmental groups say that the new standard
would shield almost all of the plants under investigation. The lawyers
said the decision would undermine investigations that had already found
serious violations at the 50 plants, which are owned by 10 different
companies. They said the change could also jeopardize inquiries involving
at least 50 more plants.

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