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2006 Policy Positions
of the Southern Legislative Conference

3. POLICY POSITION ON THE EPA’S CLEAN AIR RULES


BACKGROUND

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to drastically reduce emissions from electric generating units (EGU) in 28 states in an effort to help meet stringent new ozone and particulate matter air standards.  The EPA states that the CAIR will also help the states in making substantial progress toward meeting the goals and requirements of the Clean Air Visibility Rule (CAVR) to address regional haze – and that the states should consider CAIR as satisfying Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) for electric generating units (EGUs).

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 both the "reasonable progress" and the EGU BART requirements for the CAVR.

Additionally, technologies currently used to control sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter also reduce mercury emissions.  EPA’s approach to reduce mercury emissions from power plants is a National Cap and Trade Rule.  The Cap and Trade's two-phase emission's reduction program yields achievable reductions (70 percent) at a lower cost  than a stringent, plant-by-plant control approach and allows time for promising mercury emissions reduction technologies to be fully developed and proven.  Importantly, the rule allows for each state to decide whether to opt into the trading program or to regulate mercury differently.

RECOMMENDATION

The Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments (SLC) supports the assumption that the stringent emission reductions required by CAIR meet or exceed the EGU emission reductions required by BART and will satisfy the first "reasonable progress" milestone for achievement of the national visibility goal.

The SLC urges EPA to defend its Cap and Trade program for mercury emission reductions.  The Cap and Trade program caps mercury emissions and is more effective than EPA's Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) proposal in limiting mercury depositions.

 

Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, August 1, 2006, Louisville, Kentucky.

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