Obama Administration Tightens Clean Air Laws
New rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday will require 31 states to significantly improve their air quality for the sake of the rest of the country.
The new rule which will be known as the Transport Rule will require 31 states and the District of Columbia to significantly improve their air quality by reducing emissions from power plants. The rule has less to do with cleaning up a state’s own air quality and more to do with helping states downwind maintain theirs.
Specifically the rule will require reductions in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. The EPA note that “these pollutants react in the atmosphere to form fine particles and ground-level ozone and are transported long distances.”
The reductions will be put into place in 2012, within a year of the rule being finalized.
According to the EPA the rule will, by 2014, alongside other state and EPA actions, “reduce power plant [sulphur dioxide] emissions by 71 percent over 2005 levels. Power plant [nitrogen oxide] emissions would drop by 52 percent.”
The rule finally buries the weakened and ineffective executive proposal made by George W. Bush in May of 2007. The rule was first thrown out by a federal judge, before being reinstated later by an appeals court which only did so while ordering the EPA to make changes to it in the future.
“This rule is designed to cut pollution that spreads hundreds of miles and has enormous negative impacts on millions of Americans,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re working to limit pollution at its source, rather than waiting for it to move across the country. The reductions we’re proposing will save billions in health costs, help increase American educational and economic productivity, and — most importantly — save lives.”
According to the EPA release on the proposed law, the Transport Rule will save more than “$120 billion in annual health benefits in 2014, including avoiding an estimated 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.9 million days when people miss school or work due to ozone- and particle pollution-related symptoms. These benefits would far outweigh the annual cost of compliance with the proposed rule, which EPA estimates at $2.8 billion in 2014.”
Source: Environmental Protection Agency
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