Groups support EPA rule for coal plant discharges

July 5th press conference
Demonstrators gather to support EPA rules that would limit discharges of toxins from coal-fired power plants. (Sierra Club photo)

If you were in Philadelphia near the Delaware River today and happened to see a big rendition of a fish going down the was all about support for cleaner water.

The Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Clean Air Council and others gathered riverside to show their support for rules that the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June to limit coal plant discharges into streams.

According to the agency, when it comes to industrial categories, more than half of all toxic water pollution -- arsenic, lead, mercury, boron, selenium and the like -- comes from foal-fired power plants because limits on what they can discharge into waters are

According to the Sierra Club, Pennsylvania has 28 active coal-fired power plants and only 8 have permits that limit dumping of toxic metals, while only 4 plants have permits that limit selenium, mercury, and lead.

As the EPA notes, "The proposal sets the first federal limits on the levels of toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from power plants, based on technology improvements in the industry over the last three decades."

“National safeguards to limit toxic water pollution are well overdue. These new standards will not only clean up our rivers and streams, but require polluters for the first time to report dumping so that communities will know what’s going into their water and be empowered to take action to clean it up,” said Robin Mann of the Sierra Club, according to a press release about the event.

Maya van Rossum, who is the Delaware Riverkeeper, and Joseph O. Minott, of the Clean Air Council, also spoke, emphasizing the potential health effects of the current discharges.

Here's an EPA site with more information about the proposed effluent guidelines.

And an Environment News Service story about how it came to be.

The public comment period has been extended to Sept. 20.