EPA extends public comment period

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 21 extended the public comment time by 30 days on proposed mercury and air toxics standards. It said the extension is not expected to alter a deadline for issuing final standards on Nov. 16, 2011.

The extension is in response to requests from members of Congress and utilities and to encourage additional public comment.

“EPA will put these long-overdue standards in effect in November, as planned. In our effort to be responsive to Congress and to build on the robust public comment process, we will extend the timeline for public input by 30 days, which will not impact the timeline for issuing the final standards," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

EPA must complete the rules by November under a court-supervised deadline negotiated by the Environmental Defense Fund and several other organizations.

While American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and other utilities requested the public comment extension, other companies such as Constellation (NYSE: CEG), Exelon (NYSE: EXC) and PPL (NYSE: PPL) have said they are well-positioned to meet the new standards and some are encouraging EPA to stay the course on the rules.

EPA proposed the national mercury and air toxics standards in March. The standards will be phased in over three years and states have the ability to give facilities a fourth year to comply.

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