The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing part of a controversial rule that sets the first federal standards to reduce toxic air pollution from power plants.

The rule, issued in December, is aimed at curbing mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The Obama administration calls the rule a sensible step to reduce pollution, but Republicans have denounced it as a part of a “war on coal.” The rule could force hundreds of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest power plants to clean up or shut down.

The review, announced Friday, focuses on an aspect of the rule that applies to future power plants. The technical review is intended to clarify how the new standards would apply to five plants proposed in Texas, Georgia, Kansas and Utah.

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