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2005 Policy Positions
of the Southern Legislative Conference



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the Clean Air Interstate Rules (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 (CAA) Regional Haze Rule. The EPA also requests of the states whether Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements from the electricity-generating 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 1962-1977), and EPA's SO2 targets in CAIR explicitly balance cost and air quality benefits, similar to the intent of Section 169A BART analysis.  Such analysis performed by certain Regional Planning Organizations shows that 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.  The EPA currently is developing regulations to further reduce mercury emissions and is considering two approaches:  Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) and a National Cap and Trade Rule.  The Cap and Trade's two-phase emission's 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.


The Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments (SLC) supports the assumption that the stringent reductions required by CAIR meet or exceed the reductions required by BART and will lead to "reasonable progress" in national visibility goals.

The SLC urges EPA to adopt a National Cap and Trade program for further mercury emission reductions.  The proposed Cap and Trade program caps mercury emissions and is more effective than EPA's MACT proposal in limiting mercury depositions.


Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, August 2, 2005, Mobile, Alabama

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