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EPA Announces Landmark Clean Air Interstate Rule

Release Date: 03/10/2005
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Contact: Cynthia Bergman, 202-564-9828 /

(Washington D.C, -- 03/10/05) Acting Administrator Steve Johnson today signed the final Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), a rule that will ensure that Americans continue to breathe cleaner air by dramatically reducing air pollution that moves across state boundaries in 28 eastern states. By 2015, CAIR will provide health and environmental benefits valued at over 25 times the cost of compliance, and those benefits will continue to grow.

"CAIR will result in the largest pollution reductions and health benefits of any air rule in more than a decade," said Acting EPA Administrator Steve Johnson. "The action we are taking will require all 28 states to be good neighbors, helping states downwind by controlling airborne emissions at their source."

CAIR will permanently cap emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the eastern United States. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by over 70 percent and NOx emissions by over 60 percent from 2003 levels. This will result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and will substantially reduce premature mortality in the eastern United States, and these benefits will continue to grow each year with further implementation.

CAIR is an important component of the Bush Administration's plan to help states in the eastern United States meet the national health-based air quality standards. These pollution reductions, along with other federal air quality programs, will allow the vast majority of nonattainment areas in the eastern United States to meet the new air quality standards.

Next week, EPA is also scheduled to issue the first-ever requirement for coal-fired power plants to control mercury emissions. That action, plus today's CAIR rule, puts multi-pollutant controls in place for many of the largest sources of air pollution in the country.

"We remain committed to working with Congress to help advance the President's Clear Skies legislation in order to achieve greater certainty and nationwide emission reductions," said Steve Johnson. "But we need regulations in place now to help over 450 counties in the eastern United States protect people's health by meeting stringent new air quality standards."

CAIR will mandate the largest reduction in air pollution since the reductions set by the Acid Rain Program under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Under CAIR, states will achieve the required emissions reductions using one of two options for compliance: 1) require power plants to participate in an EPA-administered interstate cap and trade system that caps emissions in two stages, or 2) meet an individual state air emission limits through measures of the state's choosing. By addressing air pollutants in a cost effective fashion, EPA and the states will protect public health and the environment without interfering with the steady flow of affordable energy for American consumers and businesses.

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