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2004 Policy Positions
of the Southern Legislative Conference

4.  Policy Position on The Environmental Benefits of EPA’s Proposed Clean Air Rules


BACKGROUND

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to drastically reduce emissions from electric generating units (EGU) in 28 states in an effort to meet stringent new ozone and particulate matter air standards.  The EPA asserts that such emissions reductions would result from the CAIR rulemaking and would help the states in making substantial progress toward meeting the goals and requirements of the Clean Air Act regional haze rule. The EPA also requests of the states whether Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements for the EGU sector should be eliminated in states affected by CAIR.

Reductions of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) from EGU are larger from the CAIR than from those facilities subject to BART (online between 1962-77), and EPA’s SO2 targets in the CAIR explicitly balance cost and air quality benefits, similar to the intent of Section 169A BART analysis.  Such analysis preformed by certain visibility Regional Planning Organizations shows that the CAIR will satisfy “reasonable progress” and BART requirements for the CAA Regional Haze Rule.

Additionally, technologies currently used to control sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter also reduce mercury emissions.  EPA is currently developing regulations to further reduce mercury emissions and is considering two approaches:  Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) and a National Cap & Trade Rule.  The Cap & Trade's two-phase emissions reduction program yields more reductions (70 percent) at a lower cost and allows time for promising mercury emissions reduction technologies to be fully developed and proven.  Most importantly, the Rule allows for each state to decide whether to opt into the trading program or regulate mercury by specific facility-by-facility basis.

RECOMMENDATION

The Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments supports the assumption that the stringent reductions required by the CAIR meet or exceed the reductions required by BART and will lead to “reasonable progress” in national visibility goals.  Additionally, the Southern Legislative Conference urges EPA to adopt a National Cap & Trade program for further mercury emission reductions.  The proposed Cap & Trade program caps mercury emissions and is more effective than EPA's MACT proposal in limiting mercury depositions.

 Furthermore, the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments urges that copies of this policy position be forwarded to the president of the United States; leaders in the U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate; members of the Southern congressional delegation; secretary of the U. S. Department of Energy; and governors of the 16-member states of the Southern Legislative Conference.

 

Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, August 18, 2004, Little Rock, Arkansas

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