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Clear Skies

Legislative Information

Information provided for informational purposes onlyNote: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Unless otherwise noted, the data presented throughout this Web site reflect EPA’s 2003 modeling and analysis of the Clear Skies Act of 2003. Clear Skies legislation was intended to create a mandatory program that would dramatically reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury by setting a national cap on each pollutant. The Clear Skies bill was proposed in response to a growing need for an emission reduction plan that will protect human health and the environment while providing regulatory certainty to the industry. The proposed legislation for air regulation never moved out of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee in 2005 and was therefore never enacted.
Clear Skies would set strict, mandatory emissions caps on three of the most harmful air pollutants from power generators -- sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury. Former President Bush first announced the Clear Skies Act on February 14, 2002. Clear Skies legislation was first introduced in both Houses of Congress in July 2002 and reintroduced in February 2003. On January 24, 2005, Senators Inhofe and Voinovich introduced their version of the Clear Skies Act (S 131) Exit EPA disclaimer . The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings on this legislation on January 26 and February 2 of 2005.

The Clear Skies Act would cut power plant emissions of these pollutants by 70 percent, eliminating 35 million more tons of these pollutants in the next decade than the current Clean Air Act.

Analytical data generated by state-of-the-art EPA computer modeling shows that nationwide reductions of these three harmful pollutants would have striking results: Every part of the country where power plants contribute significantly to air pollution, most notably, the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest, would see vast improvements in air quality. Many cities and towns would meet air quality standards for the first time in years.

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