EPA shows decline in power plant emissions, proposes new coal ash rule

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest data shows a decline in emissions from power plants.

According to the EPA, the release of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and mercury fell between 2018 and 2019; there was a 23% decline in sulfur dioxide emissions, a 14% decline in nitrogen oxide emissions, a 13% decrease in mercury emissions and an 8% decline in carbon dioxide emissions.

Electricity generation from such facilities declined by 3% as well.

Annual nitrogen oxide emissions have fallen by 86% since 1990, and sulfur dioxide emissions declined by 94% in the same time period.

The EPA announced Wednesday plans to allow flexibility when it comes to regulating coal ash. The proposal would allow companies to dispose additional coal ash if there are steps to protect groundwater.

The move would roll back a 2015 rule setting guidelines on disposing coal ash from electricity plants. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said most of the regulation will remain in place if the new plan is approved.

The EPA is will be accepting comments on the coal ash proposal for the next 45 days and will also be holding a public hearing during this time.

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