Senators propose Clean Air Act amendments

8 February 2010– A group of U.S. Senators introduced the Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010 that calls for a 90 percent cut in mercury emissions from coal-fired plants and tightened national limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX).

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Edward Kaufman (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
The bill would require utilities to use scrubbers to cut SO2 emissions by 80 percent, cut NOX emissions by 53 percent and to cut mercury emissions by at least 90 percent no later than 2015.

The proposal also would establish nationwide trading systems for SO2 and NOX emissions to ensure reductions are cost-effective. The Environmental Protection Agency would reduce mercury emissions using maximum available control technology.

EPA is also moving forward with enhanced National Air Ambient Quality Standards to reduce these pollutants. When these requirements are implemented, as many as 650 counties nationwide could be considered out of compliance and subject to stricter air quality standards. The proposed legislation would help communities meet air quality standards, so that manufacturers can get air permits to build new facilities.

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