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UPDATE 1-U.S. EPA to reconsider coal ash waste regulations for power plants

(Adds more from EPA statement, background)

WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it will reconsider a rule regulating coal ash waste from power plants, responding to two petitions from utility industry groups.

The EPA, the lead environmental regulator in the United States, said it will reconsider specific provisions of the coal ash rule that took effect in 2015 that regulates how power plants manage and dispose of coal ash in waste pits.

The EPA said it is in the "public's interest to reconsider specific provisions" of the regulation and figure out how to amend it to give states more leeway in how they tailor their permit programs to comply with the rule.

Environmental groups warned that by rolling back these safeguards, the EPA is putting the public at risk because coal ash pits are located near waterways and groundwater. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Jonathan Oatis)