More Tea Leaves to Read: EPA Announces an Eleven-Month Delay in Its Cooling Water Intake Structure Rule

Earlier this week, I noted that EPA had announced that it was reconsidering parts of the Utility MACT rule and staying its effectiveness for three months. Yesterday, EPA announced that it was delaying for 11 months final promulgation of its cooling water intake structure rule for existing facilities under the Clean Water Act.

Reaction was predictable. Reed Super, plaintiffs’ attorney was “disappointed,” but clearly resigned. Senator Inhofe characterized the delay as:

President Obama’s decision to punt on yet another job-killing EPA regulation before the election.

Of course, short of committing collective seppuku, there is little that EPA could do to satisfy Senator Inhofe.

I find it more difficult to speculate on this than on the mercury rule. The science behind concerns about mercury is more compelling and the treatment options are well-defined. For CWIS, on the other hand, site-specific considerations are important and it is not at all obvious that requiring closed cycle cooling at existing facilities would be cost-effective.

Either way, we’ll see in 11 months – unless there is another delay.

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