The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave Florida power companies the go-ahead to pass over pollution restrictions for two weeks in order to give residents electricity as soon as possible.
As the Florida Emergency Response Team predicted an immense amount of destruction from Hurricane Irma, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection asked the federal agency to temporarily relax rules, which includes “emission limits, hours of operation limits, fuel usage restrictions, restrictions on the shutdown or bypass of pollution control equipment and thermal discharges into State and/or federal waters,” according to the “no action assurance” letter signed by EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Lawrence Starfield and addressed to FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein on Sunday.
As soon as power is restored, power companies will have to return to adhering to restrictions, the EPA said.
“Under EPA’s no action assurance letter, the facilities must continue to exercise good air and water pollution control practices and comply with all other federal, state and local environmental laws,” an EPA press release stated.
According to state management officials, more than 5.5 million customers were without power as of Tuesday morning.
The pollution rules will go back into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 26.