EPA Loosens Pollution Rules

    Piles of coal are shown at NRG Energy's W.A. Parish Electric Generating Station Wednesday, March 16, 2011, in Thompsons, Texas. The plant, which operates natural gas and coal-fired units, is one of the largest power plants in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin regulating mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants for the first time, the latest in a string of new regulations that has Republicans bent on reining in the federal body. The new rules will have the greatest impact on Texas, home to more coal-fired power plants than any other state. (AP Photo)

    AP Photo

    The Environmental Protection Agency proposed loosening pollution rules for 10 states, but House Republicans and industry groups are pressing for more. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is intended to reduce smog-forming chemicals emitted by power plants. The chemicals often drift into other states. Under the proposed changes, 10 of the 27 states affected by the rule will be allowed to emit more pollution than previously allowed, and they'll have two extra years to make changes before penalties kick in. But House Republicans are pushing to do away with the rule completely. The EPA needs to "step back, reboot and start over," said Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX).

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