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States May Sue Bush Administration Over Pollution

Date: January 3, 2002

Source: News Room

Some Northeastern states will sue the Bush administration if it eases air pollution rules for US power plants that expand or make other major modifications, according to Connecticut officials. The Environmental Protection Agency has been working on an overhaul of the Clean Air Act's so-called New Source Review rules. The rules, which were strictly enforced by the Clinton administration, require electric power plants and oil refineries to install expensive pollution control equipment when they make significant modifications or repairs to the facilities. The Bush plan, which has been the target of intense lobbying by environmental groups and electric utilities, is expected to be released this month, industry sources told Reuters. Environmental and congressional sources say the administration's plan is expected to increase the amount of maintenance that companies can perform before triggering the rule. Utilities say the rule change would allow them to maintain their plants to meet rising power demand without incurring expensive modification requirements. The industry and the Bush administration claim the regulations prevent more refineries and power plants from being built or expanded, which in turn reduces available energy supplies. Green groups see the White House efforts as a roll back of the 1970 Clean Air Act, fearing a package of loopholes that would allow utilities to pollute more with fewer penalties.

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