Current clean air act legislation more effective than Bush proposal

Secret US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis has revealed that the current Clean Air Act legislation would result in lower emissions than the Bush administration’s proposed ‘cap and trade’ policy.

According to the findings, sulphur dioxide emissions from electric power plants would be lower in every part of the country if the Clean Air Act is left as it is, compared to a draft EPA plan to remove much of the current law and replace it with a national ‘cap and trade’ plan.

Future coal burning would also be less under current law, which suggests, says the Clean Air Trust, an NGO designed to inform the public and policy makers as to the benefits of the Clean Air Act, that carbon dioxide emissions would also be lower. In areas with smog problems, namely the Northeast, the Midwest, the Southeast and Texas, emissions of oxides of nitrogen would also be lower under the current legislation. Mercury emissions from coal-fired electric power plants would also be reduced more quickly under current law.

Power companies complain that current clean air legislation means that coal-based generators face a regulatory approach that is duplicative, contradictory, costly and complex, creating enormous uncertainty for investment in coal-based generation.

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