In a bit of a surprise (WaPo):
The Bush administration has drafted regulations that would ease pollution controls on older, dirtier power plants and could allow those that modernize to emit more pollution, rather than less.
The utilities, and the proposed new rules, take the position that decisions on whether a plant complies with the regulations after modernization should be based on how much pollution it could potentially emit per hour, rather than the current standard of how much it pollutes annually.
Under the new standard, a modernized plant's total emissions could rise if the upgrade allowed it to operate longer hours. In court filings, the EPA estimated in 2002 that an hourly standard would allow eight plants in five states -- including Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia -- to generate legally as much as 100,000 tons a year of pollutants that would be illegal under the existing New Source Review rule. That equals about a third of their total emissions.
EPA spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said the administration believes the existing power plant rule is no longer necessary because of other regulatory initiatives. She said a newer and different regulation designed to cut pollution from eastern power plants, the Clean Air Interstate Rule, would achieve greater pollution reductions than the New Source Review modernization guidelines.
Oooooh-Kaaaaaay. But, even so, why not continue to monitor emissions by year instead of by day?
By the way, it is called the Environmental Protection Agency.