Power plants brace for new EPA rules seen adding to coal's woes

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WASHINGTON — Power producers such as Dynegy Corp. and Duke Energy Corp. are bracing for new U.S. rules on the water they discharge, standards that may impose further costs on the embattled coal industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to issue a proposal Friday for toxic-waste disposal in water, and environmentalists are pressing the agency to ban use of slurry ponds for the disposal of waste left over after coal is burned to generate power. The EPA says power plants are the biggest industrial source of water contamination.

“Coal plants account for a shocking amount of our water pollution,” Mary Anne Hitt, director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in an interview.

As utilities remove toxic chemicals such as mercury from their smokestacks, those pollutants is ending up in water waste, she said.

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