N.Y.'s New Clean Air Rules Stricter Than EPA's

Under the rules, new industrial plants -- as well as existing ones that modify operations in ways that increase emissions -- will have to install state-of-the-art pollution controls.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York environmental regulators adopted stricter air pollution rules on Tuesday to prevent power plants and factories from belching out more smog and soot.

Under rules adopted by the New York State Environmental Board, new industrial plants -- as well as existing ones that modify operations in ways that increase emissions -- will have to install state-of-the-art pollution controls. The rules take effect in March.

The rules are related to a provision of the federal Clean Air Act known as "new source review," which governs whether plants must install new emissions controls when expanding or making upgrades that go beyond routine maintenance.

State Environmental Commissioner Pete Grannis says the changes make the state's regulations stricter than those imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The state Business Council says the rules will hurt businesses by increasing costs and red tape.

Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of the industry group, said the new rules could make New York less competitive for businesses compared to other states.

"These new rules will impede efforts by New York manufacturers and power generators to become more productive and energy efficient," Adams said in a prepared statement.

The Business Council submitted comments to the state Department of Environmental Conservation saying the rule change will make it difficult for businesses to make routine repairs to equipment and processes.

New York regulators beefed up the state's pollution control rules after several attempts by the EPA to weaken its new source review standards early in the Bush administration, said J. Jared Snyder, DEC deputy commissioner. While New York and other states sued to stop attempts to weaken the federal rules, New York started working on the stricter rules that got final approval on Tuesday.

"We have to administer the federal new source review requirements in a state implementation plan," Snyder said. "What we're doing is modernizing our program and restructuring it to incorporate some federal reforms, but in a way that is more protective of the environment than EPA rules."

The regulations apply only to plants in New York.

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