Monday, March 01, 2010

Senator Ben Cardin: Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010 (S. 2995), introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), would amend the Clean Air Act to establish a national uniform multiple air pollutant regulatory program for the electric generating sector. The bill addresses sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury and would mandate steep cuts in these electric utility emissions. S. 2995 is tougher than the EPA's past Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and will aim to cut soot-forming sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 80% by 2018, smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NOx) by 53% by 2015 and mercury by 90% by 2015.

The purposes of the bill are:

(1) to reduce the adverse public and environmental health effects caused by the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, including the effects of acid deposition, particulate matter, and ozone, through reductions in annual emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia;

(2) to effectuate those reductions by requiring compliance by affected sources with prescribed emission limitations by specified deadlines, which limitations may be met through alternative methods of compliance provided by an emission allocation and transfer system; and

(3) to encourage energy conservation, use of renewable and clean alternative technologies, and pollution prevention as a long-range strategy, consistent with this title, for reducing air pollution and other adverse impacts of energy production and use.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, unanimously struck down (7/11/08) the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule, which required 28 states east of the Mississippi to reduce smog-forming (nitrogen oxides) and soot-and acid rain producing (sulfur dioxide) emissions that can travel long distances in the wind.

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