Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Finalized by EPA

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that protects the health of millions of Americans by helping states reduce air pollution and meet Clean Air Act standards. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule requires 27 states in the eastern half of the United States to significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that cross state lines and contribute to ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution in other states.

To see or download a copy of the final rule.

Resources For States

The rule allows air quality-assured allowance trading among power plants, utilizing an allowance market infrastructure based on existing, successful allowance trading programs.
EPA designed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to make it as easy as possible for states to use SIPs to implement any or all Cross-State Air Pollution Rule programs at any time.

– A state may develop a state plan to achieve the required reductions and may choose which types of sources to control and how to administer the programs.

– States also can choose only to allocate allowances for any or all programs, starting as early as 2013.

To meet the requirements of this rule, EPA anticipates power plants will:

– Maximize use of installed SO2and NOXpollution control equipment, including running clean units more than would otherwise occur;

– Use lower sulfur coal, switch fuels; or

– Install or upgrade pollution control equipment, such as low NOXburners or scrubbers (Flue Gas Desulfurization).

• CAIR will be implemented through 2011 compliance periods –CAIR then replaced by Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

• Cross-State Air Pollution Rule establishes new allowances for all programs

– There is no carryover of Acid Rain Program, NOXSIP Call/NBP, or CAIR allowances
The final rule yields $120 to $280 billion in annual health benefits in 2014. The emission reductions will have significant and immediate public health benefits and in three years will annually prevent:

· 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths;

· 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis;

· 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits;

· 1.8 million days when people miss work or school; and

· 420,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms.

Ensuring flexibility, EPA will work with states to help develop the most appropriate path forward to deliver significant reductions in harmful emissions while minimizing costs for utilities and consumers.

Map of Transport Rule States.
Carried long distances across the country by wind and weather, power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) continually travel across state lines. As the pollution is transported, it reacts in the atmosphere and contributes to harmful levels of smog (ground-level ozone) and soot (fine particles), which are scientifically linked to widespread illnesses and premature deaths and prevent many cities and communities from enjoying healthy air quality.

The rule will improve air quality by cutting SO2 and NOx emissions that contribute to pollution problems in other states. By 2014, the rule and other state and EPA actions will reduce SO2 emissions by 73 percent from 2005 levels. NOx emissions will drop by 54 percent. Following the Clean Air Act’s “Good Neighbor” mandate to limit interstate air pollution, the rule will help states that are struggling to protect air quality from pollution emitted outside their borders, and it uses an approach that can be applied in the future to help areas continue to meet and maintain air quality health standards.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule replaces and strengthens the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered EPA to revise in 2008. The court allowed CAIR to remain in place temporarily while EPA worked to finalize today’s replacement rule.

The rule will also help improve visibility in state and national parks while better protecting sensitive ecosystems, including Appalachian streams, Adirondack lakes, estuaries, coastal waters, and forests. In a supplemental rulemaking based on further review and analysis of air quality information, EPA is also proposing to require sources in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin to reduce NOX emissions during the summertime ozone season. The proposal would increase the total number of states covered by the rule from 27 to 28. Five of these six states are covered for other pollutants under the rule. The proposal is open for public review and comment for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. (EPA)

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