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EPA Finalizes Rule Letting Some Big Polluters Follow Weaker Standards

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday finalized a rule that could reclassify many “major” sources of pollution as minor ones, allowing facilities to abide by less-stringent emissions standards for dangerous substances such as mercury, lead and arsenic.

The reclassification changes a 1995 rule that for decades has held major emitters to tighter standards even if their operators have taken actions to reduce their pollution — a policy known as “once in, always in.”

The agency estimated that the changes will result in up to 1,258 tons per year of additional emissions of hazardous air pollutants.

John Walke, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the rule would allow corporations to emit more of “some of the most potent carcinogens and neurotoxins” they’ve successfully reduced.”

Rebecca Beitsch and Rachel Frazin report for The Hill October 1, 2020.