Administration Acts to Delay Emissions Rules

WASHINGTON (CN) – In a move the fossil fuel industry welcomes, the Trump administration has asked the D.C. Circuit to delay a review of rules that require energy companies to restrict toxic chemical emissions.

Filed Tuesday afternoon with the federal appeals court, the Environmental Protection Agency asked the court to grant it more time to review the Obama-era rules that mitigate pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Just last week Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the EPA who also sued the agency he now heads no less than a dozen times in the past, announced that he would rewrite rules limiting water pollution from the coal plants and that he would roll back any new or tighter pollution restrictions that come along the way.

Coal-burning plants are one of the primary sources of mercury pollution in the United States.

Congress passed legislation more than 20 years ago enacting tighter environmental mandates on mercury emissions, but the actual enforcement of the rules has proven challenging. Coal and other fossil fuel lobbyists have put an effective stranglehold on any momentum.

The pollution rules under fire yet again this week were finalized in 2012. Pruitt has sued the EPA in the past in a bid to unwind these very same protections.

Hotly contested, it was the Supreme Court which ruled in 2015 that the EPA did not properly consider the cost and benefits of the restriction plan. It was remanded for further review, and the D.C. Circuit ultimately left the rule in place while the agency compiled its cost analysis.

After the agency issued its finding, it announced that it would uphold its position that the benefits of keeping people healthier and reducing their contact with mercury pollution would far outweigh the costs of upkeep on filters for coal plant smoke stacks.

A representative from the EPA did not immediately return a request for comment.