The Bush administration announced on Friday that oil and gas companies will not be bound by new regulations that require storm water runoff plans to be developed for small construction sites, a means of keeping dangerous chemicals and metals from contaminating waterways. Saying it needs more time to study the situation, the U.S. EPA has granted oil and gas companies a two-year exemption from the new rules, which go into effect today. “While small communities and small construction projects in every other sector of the economy must comply with strong storm water standards, the Bush administration is giving a free ride to the oil and gas industry,” said Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), one of six senators who have fought the EPA over the issue.

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