Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Voinovich released the following statements today:
“The Clear Skies bill is the most aggressive presidential initiative in history to reduce power plant pollution and provide cleaner air across the country. The bill reduces emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and -- for the first time -- mercury from power plants by 70 percent by 2018 through expanding the successful Acid Rain Trading Program. This program, combined with the historic diesel rules being implemented by the Bush Administration, provide a national clean air strategy that will bring nearly all of the nation’s counties that are not meeting clean air standards into attainment, makes the future for clean coal possible, and keeps energy affordable, reliable and secure. It is my hope that if the environmental community and my friends on the other side of the aisle are truly serious about protecting the environment they will join me and Senator Voinovich in supporting this important legislation,” Senator Inhofe stated.
“Clear Skies responsibly harmonizes our energy and environmental policies to protect both the environment and jobs. It reduces emissions by historic levels and helps ensure continued access to the reliable, low cost electricity that is so critical to job creation and our country’s global competitiveness. It will also significantly help states and locations meet the new, more stringent national air quality standards more quickly and cheaply than current law. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members and Senate colleagues to win passage soon of this important legislation,” Senator Voinovich stated.
The Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 10:00am in SD 406 to discuss the need for multi-emissions legislation including the Clear Skies bill. A summary of the Clear Skies Act of 2005 is attached.
CLEAR SKIES ACT OF 2005
Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe and Clean Air Subcommittee Chairman George Voinovich reintroduced a major multi-emissions bill on January 24, 2005. The Clear Skies Act of 2005 would enact the largest power plant emissions reduction program ever – 70 percent cut in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury.
Ø Continues the Nation’s Progress in Cleaning up the Air
Since 1970, while there have been increases in Gross Domestic Product by 176 percent, vehicle miles traveled by 155 percent, energy consumption by 45 percent, and population by 39 percent – emissions of the six main pollutants have decreased by 51 percent. However, more can and should be done.
The Clear Skies Act expands the nation’s most successful clean air initiative – the Acid Rain Trading Program. Unlike most of our nation’s environmental laws and regulations, this program has had virtually no litigation and has achieved goals of substantial reductions in acid rain at less than the projected cost. Clear Skies builds on this success by creating a new program for mercury and extending SOx and NOx reductions out to 2018 with the aim of modernizing the Clean Air Act for the 21ST century and ending the cycle of litigation and confrontation that has obstructed further progress in reducing pollution.
Ø Achieves the Reduction Levels without Significantly Harming the Economy
EPA recently declared that 474 counties are in non-attainment for the new, stricter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, and that 225 counties do not meet the newer, stricter standards for particulate matter. These designations place a significant burden on state and local governments as they must now develop plans to reduce emissions and come into attainment by a specified date. Clear Skies – plus diesel regulations already finalized by EPA – will bring most of these counties into attainment without any local controls because it places most of the burden on the electric generating sector. This allows our states and cities to continue to focus on attracting new industry and create jobs.
Ø Allows the Nation to Keep Burning Coal without Increasing Reliance on Natural Gas
Coal is our nation’s most abundant and cheapest energy source. Manufacturers and businesses depend on its low cost to stay competitive in the global marketplace. In contrast to other proposals, Clear Skies would not dramatically reduce coal-based generation or force an over-reliance on natural gas, which would increase demand beyond supply and bring on crippling economic costs for small businesses and consumers – especially the poor and elderly.
Ø Provides Needed Certainty
Clear Skies ends the uncertainty which currently clouds our clean air laws and regulations because its reduction levels and requirements would be set in law and therefore could not be subjected to the legal challenges which have hindered environmental progress for so long. It institutes environmental certainty that these three pollutants—NOx, SOx, and Mercury—will be reduced by a specific amount by a date certain. It also provides regulatory certainty so that companies can plan for the costly investments necessary to reduce pollution by the required levels.
THE CLEAR SKIES ACT OF 2005
TITLE IV REFORMS: CAP-AND-TRADE PROGRAMS
Common Provisions: Expands the cap-and-trade Acid Rain Program to nationally reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury by 70 percent by 2018.
Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Reductions: Retains the relevant requirements of the existing Acid Rain Program through December 31, 2009 and establishes new caps and allocation procedures for sulfur dioxide emissions starting in 2010.
Phase 1 cap (2010 to 2018) of 4.5 million tons annually. Phase 2 cap (after 2018) of 3.0 million tons annually. Preserves Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) agreement between western states.
Nitrogen Oxides Emissions Reductions: Retains the requirements of the existing Acid Rain Program for nitrogen oxides and the requirements of the NOx SIP Call through 2007. Establishes new caps and allocation procedures for nitrogen oxides emissions starting in 2008 with separate cap-and-trade systems for Zone 1 (eastern and central parts of U.S.) and Zone 2 (western part of U.S. and territories).
Zone 1 cap for phase 1 (2008 to 2017) of 1.562 million tons annually. Zone 1 cap for phase 2 (after 2018) of 1.162 million tons annually. Zone 2 cap (after 2008) of 0.538 million tons annually.
Mercury Emissions Reductions: Establishes the first ever caps and allocation procedures for mercury emissions starting in 2010.
Phase 1 cap (2010 to 2017) 34 tons annually. Phase 2 cap (after 2018) of 15 tons annually.
Additional Units: Allows units (cogenerators, etc.) outside the scope of the bill to opt-in to the program and by making the emissions reductions, some MACT standards will no longer be applicable – but EPA retains authority to regulate hazardous air pollutants.
TITLE I REFORMS
New Source Review (NSR) Reform: Exempts affected units from the major source reconstruction review requirements of NSR and for 20 years the requirement to install Best Available Retrofit Technology since emissions are capped at stringent levels. Those located within 50 kilometers of a national park (or other Class I areas) remain subject to their specific Clean Air Act requirements.
Section 126 Reform: Limits the applicability of section 126 petitions and the requirements of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) “good neighbor” provisions since emissions are capped at stringent levels. The Administrator may not grant any finding for a section 126 petition submitted after enactment prior to 2012 or require SIP action prior to 2014.
Transitional Areas: Requires the redesignation of nonattainment areas that will attain the new ozone and fine particulate matter standards as “transitional” if modeling of federal programs (plus additional local controls proposed by a state) will bring the areas into attainment by 2015.
Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT): Precludes affected EGU’s from regulation of mercury using maximum available control technology standards since mercury emissions are being capped, but preserves EPA’s authority to regulate hazardous air pollutants.