In a long-awaited report on the Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) program, EPA concludes that the program "has impeded or resulted in the cancellation of projects that would maintain or improve reliability, efficiency or safety of existing power plants and refineries."

In submitting the report to President Bush, EPA said that it plans to clarify the meaning of "routine maintenance" at coal-fired power plants in a way that will allow more facility upgrades to move forward without triggering onerous pollution-control requirements.

Environmental groups said that the report confirms their fears that the Bush Administration intends to roll back CAA protections.