In a news release recently issued by the EPA, the agency has announced a 30 day extension of the public comment period on the proposed mercury and air toxics standards rule. Stays, delays and extensions seem to be common place lately with the EPA regarding their aggressive and unpopular regulatory agenda that has drawn opposition from industry leaders. There is a growing concern about the effect these regulations will have on future expansion, investment and job creation in this fragile economy.

The EPA even openly acknowledges that pressure from members of Congress had a direct impact on their decision. Concern regarding this rule crossed party lines, with members such as Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) to Senator John Brarrasso (R-WY) weighing in, questioning the rule and asking for an extension to examine it more closely. A Reuters article discusses congressional involvement in further detail.

Coverage of the extension:

Bloomberg: “EPA Extends Comment Time on Mercury and Air Toxics Proposal”
The Hill: “EPA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Mercury Rule”
Reuters: US Extends Comment Time on Power Plant Toxics Rule.”

There is little doubt that the pressure has been mounting against these proposed regulations. Although they say the extension of the public comment period will not affect the timing of the final rule, it is clear that the EPA is responding to the concerns of manufacturers and lawmakers regarding the ability to comply with these regulations — and the cost of them — not just in dollars, but also the human cost of the number of pink slips these regulations would generate.