A proposal to alter the New Source Review rule of the Clean Air Act will be announced today, according to the U.S. EPA. The rule requires companies to install state-of-the-art pollution-control equipment when upgrading aging power plants. The utility industry has lobbied intensely against New Source Review, saying it should apply only to extensive, non-routine expansions that would dramatically increase pollutants. The Bush administration proposal is expected to promise the industry exactly what it wants: greater flexibility to expand plants without installing expensive emissions controls. Moreover, utilities would be allowed to use pollution levels from any two consecutive years in the past decade to establish an emissions baseline that would determine how much additional pollution plants can produce before the New Source Review rule applies. Outraged environmentalists say easing the rule will produce millions of tons of additional pollution and amount to a rollback of the Clean Air Act.
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