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EPA's New Clean Air Regulation


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.

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