Where You Live
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The Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)
On March 10, 2005, EPA issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), a rule designed to achieve the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade. CAIR was set up to ensure that Americans continue to breathe cleaner air by dramatically reducing air pollution that moves across state boundaries. EPA forecasts that in 2015, CAIR will provide health and environmental benefits valued at more than 25 times the cost of compliance.
CAIR caps emissions of SO2 and NOx in the eastern United States and achieves large reductions of SO2 and/or NOx emissions across 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia. CAIR was set up to reduce SO2 emissions in these states by over 70 percent and NOx emissions by over 60 percent from 2003 levels when fully implemented. EPA estimates that the rule will result in $85 billion to $100 billion in health benefits and nearly $2 billion in visibility benefits per year by 2015 and will substantially reduce premature mortality in the eastern United States.
The Acid Rain Program
Title IV of the Clean Air Act set a goal of reducing annual SO2 emissions by 10 million tons below 1980 levels. To achieve these reductions, the law required a two-phase tightening of the restrictions placed on fossil fuel-fired power plants.
Phase I began in 1995 and affected 263 units at 110 mostly coal-burning electric utility plants located in 21 eastern and midwestern states. An additional 182 units joined Phase I of the program as substitution or compensating units, bringing the total of Phase I affected units to 445. Emission data indicate that 1995 SO2 emissions at these units nationwide were reduced by almost 40 percent below their required level.
Phase II, which began in 2000, tightened the annual emission limits imposed on these large, higher emitting plants and also set restrictions on smaller, cleaner plants fired by coal, oil, and gas, encompassing over 2,000 units. The program affects existing utility units serving generators with an output capacity greater than 25 megawatts, as well as all new utility units.
The Clean Air Act also called for a 2-million ton reduction in NOx emissions by 2000. A significant portion of this reduction has been achieved by coal-fired utility boilers that were required to install low-NOx burner technologies and meet new emission standards.
- More Information on the Acid Rain Program
- Results of the Acid Rain Program
- Emission Data from the Acid Rain Program
NOx Budget Trading Program
The NOx Budget Trading Program is a market-based cap and trade program created to reduce emissions of NOx from power plants and other large combustion sources in the eastern United States. NOx is a prime ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone, a pervasive air pollution problem in many areas in the East. The NOx budget Trading Program was designed to reduce NOx emissions during the warm summer months, referred to as the ozone season (May 1 to September 30), when ground-level ozone concentrations are highest.
- More Information on the NOx Budget Trading Program
- Results of the NOx Budget Trading Program
- Emission Data from the NOx Budget Trading Program