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2003 Policy Positions
of the Southern Legislative Conference

4.   POLICY POSITION IN SUPPORT OF FEDERAL MULTI-EMISSION REDUCTION LEGISLATION


BACKGROUND

     The federal government, state and local governments and communities, and electric power providers have a common interest in assuring compliance with our nation’s air quality goals. Electric power providers have significantly reduced air emissions, but additional reductions are needed to help address these air quality goals. The Clean Air Act provides for continued reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and mercury from electric power facilities, but many regulatory decisions are years away and have unpredictable outcomes. Implementation of the Clean Air Act’s multiple and overlapping requirements could be streamlined to facilitate greater, more efficient, and more certain emission reductions, and to reduce litigation that often causes significant delays in achieving air quality goals. A new federal emission reduction program could help to resolve interstate environmental conflicts and reduce inconsistencies between state programs. The implications of emission reduction programs on consumer energy prices from electric power facilities is an important consideration that must be considered carefully in multi-emissions legislation.

The SLC acknowledges that the final multi-emission reduction program should benefit states and local communities and consumers, as well as maintain and promote electric power reliability, availability, and a diverse fuel supply. The SLC has resolved that reductions under such a program should be achieved using a phased-in, emissions cap-and-trade approach patterned after the successful Clean Air Act acid rain program. The SLC further agrees that such a program should streamline Clean Air Act provisions and provide greater regulatory certainty given that SO2, NOX, and mercury emissions caps will substantially reduce the amount of emissions from electric power facilities. The SLC realizes that such a program should require strict enforcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through strict fines for violations.

RECOMMENDATION

     The Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments (CSG) urges Congress to pass multi-emission legislation in 2003 that significantly reduces emissions of SO2, NOX, and mercury from electric power facilities and helps the nation toward attainment of federal air quality standards.  Finally, the SLC urges that this position of the organization be dispatched to all the appropriate state and federal officials and agencies.

 

Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, August 12, 2003, Fort Worth, Texas.

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