Earlier this week brought news of a settlement agreement between utility giant American Electric Power and the U.S. EPA in which the company agreed to install some $4.6 billion in pollution controls at some of its power plants and pay over $70 million in penalties and cleanup costs. Today, The Washington Post reported that the agreement contained language exempting the company from enforcement for the next 10 years under the same rule it was sued for allegedly not obeying. The new-source review rule mandates that utilities upgrade pollution controls when building or significantly renovating a power plant. “It just shows the Bush administration is of two minds when it comes to enforcing the Clean Air Act,” said John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Meanwhile, one of those minds is preparing to finalize a rule that would exempt many power plants from installing the required pollution controls as long as the plants’ hourly rate of pollution doesn’t increase.

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