"Betsy Southerland knew something was wrong the moment she walked into her office at the Environmental Protection Agency.
It was 8 a.m. on a Thursday in April and already, her team was waiting at her door, computer printouts in hand.
For months, staffers in the Office of Water had been in help-desk mode, fielding calls from states implementing a federal rule that set new limits on water-borne pollution released by coal-fired power plants. The rule on what is known as “effluent” had been hammered out over a decade of scientific study and intense negotiations involving utility companies, White House officials and environmental advocates. The EPA had checked and rechecked its calculations to make sure the benefits of the proposed change outweighed the cost to the economy."