Compiled ByJill Jusko The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed the final regulation governing the design, capacity and construction of cooling water intake structures at new industrial facilities and power plants. The regulation is the first of three scheduled regulations designed to reduce adverse environmental impacts, primarily on fish and shellfish, from cooling water intake processes. The rule applies to new electric generating plants and manufacturing plants that draw more than two million gallons per day from U.S. waters. New facilities with smaller cooling water intakes still will be regulated on a site-by-site basis. According to the EPA, this rule is technology driven. Facilities are not required to use certain technologies and can innovate as long as they demonstrate comparable performance. This rule -- required by the Clean Water Act -- is the first of three regulations scheduled over the next three years that addresses cooling water intake valves. The EPA says the rule is expected to cost less than $47 million annually and have no impact on the U.S. energy supply. The rule and more information are available at www.epa.gov/ow/new.html.