Environmental Protection Agency regulations have left one coal company working in Georgia with just a two-week window in which to begin construction before a new rule  prevents the plant from being built at all.

Allied Energy Services couldn’t move forward with construction of a $2.1 billion plant until last week, when the EPA finalized a rule on mercury emissions.

“That was a real big question, so now that we finally have that rule we can finalize our contracts,” Allied Energy Services’ Dean Alford told the Macon Telegraph (Ga.). “There were a lot of issues waiting on that dime to fall. EPA waited to the very last minute.”

After having to wait for that rule, the company must now race to begin construction before another regulation — the New Source Performance Standards, which will require coal companies to pay fines if they emit more carbon than natural gas companies — takes effect on April 13th.

“The real question we’re all working on is can we get it all done between now and the 12th?” Alford said.

The new NSPS rule is designed to prevent the construction of new coal plants. “So, if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can,” President Obama said of the coming rule in 2008. “It’s just that it’ll bankrupt them.” An EPA regional administrator praised then EPA chief Lisa Jackson last year for proposing the rule. “Lisa Jackson has put forth a very powerful message to the country,” Curt Spalding said last year March.  “Just two days ago, the decision on greenhouse gas performance standards, and saying basically, ‘gas plants are the performance standard, which means that if you want to build a coal plant you’ve got a big problem.’ That was a huge decision . . . You can’t imagine how tough that was, because — you got to remember — if you go to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and all those places, you have coal communities who depend on coal.” Spalding added that “It is painful every step of the way.”