EPA and the environmental organization plaintiffs in Defenders of Wildlife v. Jackson have agreed to extend the deadline for EPA to sign a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding revisions to the effluent limitation guidelines for power plants. In a Stipulated Extension filed with the court on December 10, 2012, the parties agreed to extend the deadline until April 19, 2013. This is the third extension of the original July 23, 2012 deadline in the Consent Decree, but EPA stated that it does not plan to seek any additional extensions. The extension will allow for White House review of the proposed rule, which has not yet begun. It will also allow EPA to coordinate any proposed revisions to the effluent limitation guidelines with a proposed rule on coal ash disposal. At the request of the plaintiffs, EPA agreed to file 30-day reports with the court on the status of the proposed rule until it is released, and 90-day reports on the status of a final rule until EPA finalizes the rulemaking. The current deadline of May 22, 2014 for a final rule is unchanged.
This latest extension comes in the midst of the Utility Water Act Group's (UWAG) appeal of the denial of their motion to intervene in the case. As discussed in yesterday's blog post, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard oral arguments in that appeal. If the appellate court rules in favor of UWAG it is quite likely that EPA's rulemaking schedule will be adjusted once again.