Environmental group sues over EPA coal wastewater rule

By Miranda Willson | 05/23/2024 04:25 PM EDT

The Center for Biological Diversity contends that a provision of the new rule amounts to a “hand-out” for coal-fired power plants.

A wastewater pipe and a coal plant's smokestacks.

An environmental group asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a recent EPA coal wastewater rule. Sickter6/Wikipedia (wastewater); PxHere (coal plant)

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Biden administration Thursday over a new coal wastewater rule, which the environmental group says contains an unnecessary loophole.

Finalized last month, EPA’s updated wastewater standards set tighter pollution limits for coal-fired power plants, a major source of heavy metals and other contaminants in rivers and streams nationwide.

But the rule also allows plant owners to avoid installing new pollution control technologies if they plan to retire by 2034. Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, called that provision “unacceptable” and said the policy violates the Clean Water Act.


“Worse yet, this hand-out to the industry will continue to harm hundreds of endangered aquatic species, as the EPA once again thumbs its nose at the Endangered Species Act,” Hartl said in a news release.