Under the EPA proposal, 10 of the 27 states affected by the rule will be allowed to emit more pollution than previously allowed. Also, all of the states would have until 2014, rather than 2012, before any associated penalties kick in.
The flexibility proposal is the latest move by the Obama administration to address industry concerns about environmental regulations. Earlier this summer, President Barack Obama forced the EPA to abandon an air-quality rule to curb ozone-forming smog. House Republicans are pushing to roll back the rule as part of legislation that would set federal spending levels for 2012.
The pollutants targeted by the rule can cause heart attacks and respiratory illnesses. The EPA has said the rule will help prevent 34,000 premature deaths a year. (WSJ, 10/7/2011)