Coal ash pond
PHOTO: CNN
Coal ash pond
Now playing
06:02
Worries linger after EPA changes coal ash rules
PHOTO: George Frey/Getty Images
Now playing
01:14
Health risks to power plant regulation rollback
PHOTO: Parley for the Oceans
Now playing
02:11
See wave of garbage off the Dominican Republic
Whiskey barrels are piled in a heap Wednesday, July 4, 2018, after the rest of the Barton 1792 Distillery, a whiskey storage warehouse, collapsed in Bardstown, Kentucky, nearly two weeks after part of the decades-old structure came crashing down. No injuries were reported in either collapse, said Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman Milt Spalding.  (WLKY-TV, CBS Louisville via AP)
PHOTO: AP
Whiskey barrels are piled in a heap Wednesday, July 4, 2018, after the rest of the Barton 1792 Distillery, a whiskey storage warehouse, collapsed in Bardstown, Kentucky, nearly two weeks after part of the decades-old structure came crashing down. No injuries were reported in either collapse, said Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman Milt Spalding. (WLKY-TV, CBS Louisville via AP)
Now playing
01:01
Bourbon storage warehouse collapses ... again
crystal city bad water pkg_00000525.jpg
PHOTO: KSAT/June Marie Silva
crystal city bad water pkg_00000525.jpg
Now playing
01:00
Black tap water stuns Texas town
PHOTO: Max Phillips
Now playing
01:33
River set ablaze nearly burns politician
ac wv water chemicals_00004617.jpg
ac wv water chemicals_00004617.jpg
Now playing
01:51
Toxic tap water in West Virginia
Cleanup workers cut holes into the ice on the Yellowstone River near Crane, Mont. on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 as part of efforts to recover oil from an upstream pipeline spill that released up to 50,000 gallons of crude. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
PHOTO: Matthew Brown/AP
Cleanup workers cut holes into the ice on the Yellowstone River near Crane, Mont. on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 as part of efforts to recover oil from an upstream pipeline spill that released up to 50,000 gallons of crude. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
Now playing
01:01
Over 50,000 gallons of oil spilled in Yellowstone River
nd ohio water crisis_00010606.jpg
nd ohio water crisis_00010606.jpg
Now playing
01:24
Ohio water crisis affects 400,000
tsr dnt griffin west virginia chemical spill_00002202.jpg
tsr dnt griffin west virginia chemical spill_00002202.jpg
Now playing
02:50
Grand jury investigates chemical spill
dnt ca body found in sewage system_00002101.jpg
dnt ca body found in sewage system_00002101.jpg
Now playing
01:47
Human remains found in treatment plants
pkg stamford connecticut sewage spill_00001607.jpg
pkg stamford connecticut sewage spill_00001607.jpg
Now playing
01:34
Millions of gallons of sewage in harbor
lead water sara ganim dnt_00014829.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
lead water sara ganim dnt_00014829.jpg
Now playing
03:27
More than 5,000 water systems in violation of rules
dnt used medical waste found in river_00002226.jpg
PHOTO: KFOR
dnt used medical waste found in river_00002226.jpg
Now playing
01:00
Man says he found medical waste in river
Now playing
00:52
Terminix fined $10 million; pesticide poisoned family
Algal bloom in Lake Erie, Kelley's Island. October 16, 2011. Photo: T. Joyce, NOAA.
Algal bloom in Lake Erie, Kelley's Island. October 16, 2011. Photo: T. Joyce, NOAA.
Now playing
01:40
Toxic algae blooms contaminate U.S. drinking water
(CNN) —  

The Trump administration is poised to undo an Obama-era regulation intended to limit emissions of toxins from coal-fired power plants, a move that environmental groups say could lead to significant health problems, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The Times, citing conversations with two people familiar with the plans, said the Environmental Protection Agency could move as early as Thursday to “weaken” the regulation by “relaxing some of the requirements on power generators and also exempting a significant number of power plants from even those requirements.” The newspaper said the agency was pursuing the changes in order to extend the life of older power plants run by coal that have been closing down as cleaner alternatives become more preferred.

Under President Donald Trump, the EPA has rolled back a number of Obama-era regulations that sought to reduce the environmental and health impacts of non-renewable energy, and Thursday’s move would be the latest example of that pattern of deregulation.

The Times said each year power plants produce about 130 million tons of coal ash – the residue produced from burning coal that is stored in more than a thousand sites across the country. The Obama-era regulation “set deadlines for power plants to invest in modern wastewater treatment technology to keep toxic pollution out of local waterways,” which was estimated to stop about 1.4 million pounds of “toxic metals and other pollutants” from going into waterways, the newspaper said.

Environmental groups opposed to the changes are warning that they could lead to significant health issues contracted from drinking water, such as “birth defects, cancer and stunted brain development in young children,” according to the Times, which said some groups plan to challenge the rollback.

According to the newspaper, the Trump administration plans to say their proposed changes “will remove more pollutants than the Obama-era regulation,” an argument the Times said was based on “an analysis that assumes about 30 percent of power plants will voluntarily chose to install more stringent technology.”