STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Here's NPR's Elizabeth Shogren.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN: Smith says he still hasn't figured out how the new rules will change his project. But one thing is certain: They give a new weapon to the plant's opponents.
DAVID SMITH: The environmental organizations, I mean, their goal is to challenge any coal plant. Another regulation just gives them another avenue to make another challenge.
SHOGREN: Attorney Cale Jaffe from the Southern Environmental Law Center has been fighting the plant.
CALE JAFFE: Now, finally we've got the rules that are beginning to require power companies to account for their global warming pollution. That's an historic turn of events.
SHOGREN: Jeffrey Holmstead, who headed EPA's air pollution office under President Bush, predicts the new requirements will increase energy costs and halt industrial construction. That's because there's no clear rule book. Officials will evaluate each project to see what technologies could cut its pollution.
JEFFREY HOLMSTEAD: It slows everybody down 'cause nobody has any idea what the rules are going to be.
SHOGREN: Holmstead, who now represents energy companies as a lawyer, says companies that do try to get permits will be stymied by red tape and challenges from environmental groups.
HOLMSTEAD: That is a huge part of the problem. There are multiple opportunities for it to be challenged and held up.
GINA MCCARTHY: We'll be able to issue these permits. We will not slow down the economy.
SHOGREN: Gina McCarthy now heads EPA's air pollution office. She says agency and state officials will only require companies to use existing technologies, but in ways that make plants as energy efficient as possible.
MCCARTHY: So that the pollution they emit is as minimal as possible to get the job done.
SHOGREN: Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.