The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has drafted a Cross-State Air Pollution Rule announced on July 7 for 27 States across the USA. This rule is aimed at reducing air pollution by cutting sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from coalfired powerplants. Coal power in the USA accounts for 46% of the country’s electric production but coal power is also responsible for 83% of CO2 emissions caused by electricity generation that year.
This rule poses a challenge for many electric utilities in order to balance meeting demand with meeting regulations. The US is facing a challenge that EPA would like to take up: dropping NOx emissions by 54% and SO2 emissions have to be cut 73% from 2005 levels, by 2014.
This measure would solve many problems caused by these emissions:
- It will improve air-quality and enable the communities to meet air-quality standards
- It will reduce the harmful smog and soot levels in the US
- It will reduce health problems linked to pollution such as asthma, bronchitis
Some utilities had already begun emissions control projects in order to comply with the EPA’s 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rules and they will be better equipped to meet the targets.
There has been a broad range of reactions about this new EPA regulation, so we are uncertain about its implementation and overall effectiveness.
On April 20, 2010 EPA released for public comment a residual designation program under the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) for three towns within the Charles River watershed: Milford, Bellingham and Franklin. The program aims at controlling water pollution in the Charles River by preventing point sources from discharging pollutants into water. In fact, in spite of many attempts to reduce bacterial contamination in the Charles- like the Clean Charles initiative in 1995 launched by EPA – the River is still impaired by discharges of polluted stormwater and particularly, discharge of phosphorus. The most significant consequence is the development of blooms of toxic algae and plants. Thus, the designation strives to reduce the excessive phosphorus levels in stormwater in the Charles River watershed. The overall goal of the program is to reduce the phosphorus load into the Charles River Watershed by 65%.
In order to do that, EPA will issue permits to the facilities which discharge stormwater from two or more acres of impervious surfaces. Impervious surfaces include buildings, parking areas, and driveways. A property with over two acres of impervious area will be categorized as a “Designated Discharge” (DD) under the program. Theses permits – issued under the NPDES program - will impose different stormwater control requirements and restrictions in the form of Best Management Practices.
There are 12 baseline performance standards that must be addressed for each permittee. Tasks required include the development of a stormwater management plan, and minimizing risks of stormwater pollutants by snow removal and deicing activities, stormwater discharge contamination, exposed soil areas.
The EPA may issue a final permit by the fall of 2011. For more information or to see how the proposed regulations may affect you or your property, please contact John McAllister at (508) 747 – 7900 x 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.