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EPA to Finalize Power Plant Mercury Rules This Week

The EPA finished writing mercury-control rules for utilities on Friday, according to the Washington Post.

Several sources told the paper that the White House and EPA have wrapped up last-minute talks on the rules, which the agency is planning to announce this week. Friday was the deadline for the EPA to finalize the rules, to comply with the terms of a court-ordered settlement.

The agreed-on regulations give the EPA administrator authority to provide a one-year extension to companies that show they cannot make the necessary changes within the rules’ three-year compliance deadline, sources said.

The rules are predicted to cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 91 percent.

Utilities including Southern Co. and American Electric Power have opposed the rules, arguing that they would have to shut down plants if forced to install new controls by 2014. Others, such as Exelon and New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group, said they will have no trouble meeting the standards.

According to an Associated Press survey, more than 32 power plants will have to close and another 26 may have to shut down because of the regulations. But the closures probably won’t lead to blackouts, the AP said.

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