Senators ask EPA to continue pursuit of NOx reductions

A group of US senators representing northeastern states have written to the US EPA urging the Agency to carry on with plans to control Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) from power stations in other regions and thereby reduce ozone levels.

The group, headed by US Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), asked EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner to reject requests by the electrical industry to delay implementation of the Agency’s rule governing emissions of NOx.
Figures released in March indicated that US power utilities will have to spend a total of $41 billion to meet US EPA NOx standards.
“The public health and environmental impacts that result from ozone transport in our view compel a conclusion that any further delay in pollution controls must be avoided. States have been aware of the requirements for over two years, leaving ample time to begin to work with industry to develop workable schedules for implementing controls,” the Senators said in their letter to Browner.
Midwest electrical utilities and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) want the EPA to delay implementation of the NOx controls, which would crack down on pollution from major sources in 22 states that contribute to air quality problems in the Northeast and other regions. The compliance deadline for the NOx reductions is May 1, 2003.
EEI has argued that enforcement of the 2003 date will result in undue hardship to the industry, with the potential for disruptions in supply.
But the Senators told Browner that northeastern states have been successful in managing compliance and maintaining a reliable electrical grid during the past three summers, and said other utilities should be able to comply too.
“Industry opponents of the EPA cleanup programme have argued that enforcing the 2003 schedule will be too burdensome, requiring lengthy outages that would disrupt service to customers. We disagree. Electric generating companies in the Northeast have all had to comply with NOx reductions in 1995,” the Senators said.

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