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EPA Acts on Implementation of Landmark Clean Air Interstate Rule


(Washington, D.C.-March 16, 2006) EPA took a number of actions today to assure the timely and efficient implementation of the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). Issued on March 10, 2005, CAIR will achieve the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade by requiring 28 states and the District of Columbia to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from power plants.

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 these states by over 70 percent and NOx emissions by over 60 percent from 2003 levels. These reductions are expected to result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and help prevent an estimated 17,000 premature deaths annually.

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.

After EPA issued the final CAIR, twelve petitions were submitted by state, local and private organizations requesting the agency reconsider certain aspects of its final rule. EPA reopened six issues for public comment. In today’s final action, EPA is responding to petitioners requests by:
· issuing a final notice explaining the agency’s decision that the five issues raised by petitioners for reconsideration should not be changed,
· clarifying in its Federal Implementation Plans for CAIR that solid waste incinerators (and particularly municipal waste incinerators) are not considered electric generating units, and
· notifying petitioners of the agency’s decision regarding their remaining petition requests.

In a related action, EPA also issued a final rule today to include Delaware and New Jersey in CAIR requiring these states to control SO2 and NOx emissions from their power plants. Both states are already subject to CAIR’s ozone requirements. Including Delaware and New Jersey in CAIR for fine particle pollution will help other states meet EPA’s health-based air quality standards for fine particles and ground-level ozone by reducing interstate transport of SO2 and NOx.

EPA also finalized federal implementation plan (FIP) rules which provide for a federal emission reduction back-up plan should a state fail to put an adequate implementation plan in place on time. The FIP rules rely upon the same model emission cap and trade programs that EPA established in the CAIR and provide additional options for states to implement the CAIR requirements. EPA will withdraw a FIP once the state’s own state implementation plan, or SIP, for meeting the CAIR requirements is approved and in place.

Today, EPA is also denying a petition submitted by North Carolina under Section 126 of the Clean Air Act because CAIR and the FIP rule address the emission reductions requested by North Carolina. CAIR will eliminate any significant contribution of air pollutants from states linked to North Carolina’s nonattainment thus satisfying North Carolina’s petition request. EPA projects that in four years North Carolina will meet federal air quality standards for fine particles and ground-level ozone as a result of CAIR’s cuts to pollution from neighboring states.

For more information on these actions and the Clean Air Interstate Rule, visit:


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