SELC joins dozens questioning EPA delay in clean water protections

Senior Attorney Frank Holleman and Catawaba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins stop for a photo on the National Mall after testifying to maintain strong federal protections for clean water. (© Catawaba Riverkeeper)

SELC Senior Attorney Frank Holleman testified this week at the only hearing scheduled by the Environmental Protection Agency on an indefinite delay of clean water protections. At issue are the federal Effluent Limitations Guidelines, which dictate how many pollutants like mercury, arsenic, and selenium power plants can discharge into the nation’s streams and rivers.

“No community in the Southeast is asking for less protection from coal ash pollution,” said Holleman during his testimony. “This proposal to weaken clean water protections against coal ash pollution is a creation of Washington lobbyists, and this proposal is the worst form of special interest regulation.”

The guidelines were finalized in 2015 following 5 years of study and public input. EPA estimates, if implemented, the 2015 would reduce power plant pollution by about 1.4 billion pounds per year.

If EPA successfully delays implementation of the rule – a delay that was initiated at power companies’ request – the nation will be relying on rules created in 1982, when much less was known about the health problems caused by these pollutants.


Read more about the hearing from U.S. News & World Report.

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