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EPA Chief in Denver Promoting Pollution Regs

Photo by Kirk Siegler
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson visited with students at a school at National Jewish in Denver Monday.

In Denver Monday, President Obama’s top environmental official touted Colorado’s new law requiring that aging coal fired power plants be retired or converted to cleaner-burning natural gas by 2016. Environmental Protection Agency director Lisa Jackson also toured National Jewish Health to look at research linking air pollution to public health. The EPA is in the midst of several new rulemaking processes aimed at tightening air pollution standards on industry.  On coal fired power plants though, last week, the agency announced it would delay until December a final rule aimed at cutting mercury and other toxic emissions from old plants. 

The move irked some environmentalists who want it done sooner.  It also upset many states and energy companies who are pushing for a year delay.

But speaking to reporters outside National Jewish, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said the tougher standards for power plants were first proposed in 1990.

"My belief is that all we get if we roll back the standards is inaction," Jackson said. "And that makes us sicker, that costs us lives, it costs our children time away from school and our workers time away from their jobs."

Jackson praised Colorado’s new “Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act,” saying it’s an example of how a state partnered with a major utility to get out in front of federal regulations that everyone knows are coming.