WASHINGTON (CN) – To overcome a complex tangle of individual state implementation plans limiting the airborne spread of power plant toxic emissions from one state to another, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue integrated Federal Implementation Plans for 32 eastern states.
The Clean Air Act requires states to prohibit emissions that make it difficult for downwind states to attain, or maintain, national ambient EPA air quality standards for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
As the states can not regulate each other, the EPA is authorized under the act to assess the impact of airborne or transported emissions from one state to another and order the offending states to adjust their regulations for the benefit of their neighbors.
The EPA estimates that once the Federal Implementation Plans are in place, sulfur dioxide would be 5.0 million tons lower, annual nitrogen oxides emissions would be 700,000 tons lower, and ozone season nitrogen oxides emissions would be 100,000 tons lower in 2012, compared to baseline projections without the plans.
The proposed regulation is part of a series of initiatives proposed by the agency after the Obama administration made improved air quality a priority, and reduced emissions from power stations an EPA priority.
Other actions the EPA plans in the next two years include: Issuing rules for electric utilities to address pollution transport under revised air quality standards; revisions to new source performance standards for coal and oil-fired utility electric generating units; enhanced definitions of best available retrofit technology for reducing emissions; and regional haze program requirements to protect visibility.
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