2013年4月19日，美国环境保护署（EPA） 宣布 提出了基于技术的蒸汽发电设备废水限制指南和标准。的 拟议的国家标准, which are based on data collected from industry, provide for a phased-in approach and the use of technologies already installed at a number of plants. 环保局 argues that this regulatory action is necessary to reduce the amount of toxic metals and other pollutants discharged to surface waters by power plants, in part because the development of new air pollution control technologies over the past 30 years has altered existing 废水 streams at many power plants, particularly those burning coal.
环保局’s proposal would set federal limits on the levels of toxic metals in 废水 discharged from seven waste streams: flue gas desulfurization (FGD) 废水 , fly ash transport water, bottom ash transport water, combustion residual leachate, nonchemical metal cleaning wastes, and 废水 from flue gas mercury control (FGMC) systems and gasification systems. To that end, 环保局 presents eight regulatory options for public comment, four of which are 环保局’s preferred regulatory alternatives for existing sources. 环保局 also identifies one preferred alternative for the regulation of new sources. The regulatory options presented by 环保局 differ in terms of the number of waste streams covered, the size of the units controlled, and the stringency of the controls that would be imposed. For a detailed summary and discussion of 环保局’现有和新资源的首选替代方法，请查看我们的客户警报 在这里可用. 自该通知在《联邦公报》上发布之日起，对拟议规则的公众意见征询期为60天。
环保局’s proposed rule is the latest in a series of aggressive rulemakings targeting coal-fired power. In connection with each rulemaking, 环保局 assesses the economic impact of the individual rule and makes some pronouncement regarding its projected effect, including whether any facilities will be forced to close as a result of the rulemaking. 环保局 believes compliance with this proposed regulation would be economically achievable –成本在1.85亿美元至9.54亿美元之间，具体取决于所选的替代方案–并不会强迫任何燃煤电厂关闭。 In fact, 环保局 believes that fewer than half of all coal-fired power plants are estimated to incur costs under the proposal because most power plants already have in place the technology and procedures to meet the proposed pollution control standards.
但是，缺乏这种分析的原因是，大量的EPA规则对燃煤电力行业产生了累积影响。自2009年以来，EPA已提出至少五项主要规则，这些规则将对燃煤发电产生重大影响。 （其他规则包括《跨州空气污染规则》，该规则已于去年夏天由华盛顿特区巡回委员会撤销；《煤燃烧残留物规则》，《冷却水吸入结构》（§316（b））规则；以及《汞和空气中毒标准》。） 此外，EPA计划发布针对现有发电厂的温室气体法规（并且已经提出了一些规则，这些规则将阻止在不安装当前成本高昂的碳捕集与封存技术的情况下建造新的燃煤发电厂）。燃煤发电的温室气体许可要求。环保局’拟议的废水排放限制指南必定会给许多设施带来可观的成本，同时加上EPA的成本’根据《清洁空气法》的规定，毫无疑问，一些燃煤设施将因此关闭。