On Monday the Trump administration finalized its reduction of Obama-era rules that were supposed to deal with polluted wastewater from coal-burning power plants.

This new change deals with cleaning coal ash and toxic heavy metals from coal plants.

These changes will allow companies to look for alternate technology to clean waste water and allow them more time to clean it.

This is one of many regulatory rollbacks for coal power under the Trump administration. Many of these regulations from the Obama era were seen as unnecessary, too expensive, or too restrictive.

Utility companies will still be expected to clean waste water, but this new rule saves the companies an estimated $140 million dollars annually while doing it.

There are those who disagree that the rule changes will allow for proper control of waste water.

“This rule is going to continue to let these coal-fired power plants pour these toxics into the nation’s rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and fisheries for 2.7 million people,” said Betsy Southerland, former science director EPA’s back in 2017.

Current EPA officials explain that the new rule will reduce pollution by an additional 1 million pounds annually.

“We support rules that protect the environment and human health, and we are optimistic the revised rule will not adversely affect the electricity grid,”  said America’s Power, a group who advocates on behalf of coal power plants. They celebrate the new rules as good news. They say that the Obama-era rules would have forced more coal plants to close. Their goal is to keep the power grid reliable.

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