Commentary: EPA is finally tackles pollution from coal-fired power

Whether it's because the Environmental Protection Agency is operating under a more environmentally friendly administration or because of a lawsuit, the agency has announced — after many years of delay — that it will revise standards for water discharges from coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution.

Either way, the decision is good for our drinking-water supply. The standards now in effect were issued in 1982 and are hopelessly out of sync with today's electric power industry.

Florida has fewer coal-fired power plants than many other states, but it only takes one to contaminate nearby waterways. When the EPA adopts the new standards they will be applied by the state.

Air-pollution controls that remove particulates from utilities' smokestacks have vastly improved air quality. But the equipment used to clean these emissions — the "scrubbers" that clean boiler exhaust with water — too often send the resulting dirty water into rivers and other waters.

The technology exists to clean this water, but very few power plants use it. The EPA's new standards should correct this oversight.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.