Senators launch amendment to Clean Air Act

A bipartisan group of Congressmen have put forward an amendment to the 1990 Clean Air Act, in order to reduce emissions from electric power plants.

The Clean Power act of 2001 aims to cut emissions of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen from power plants by 75%, aggregate mercury emissions by 90%, and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels.

The Bill also includes provisions for incentives to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in order to achieve the emission reduction objectives, and policies to reduce the rate of growth of natural gas consumption.

“I am proud to have been one of the principal negotiators of the 1990 Clean Air Act, an act that has allowed our nation to make progress in improving air quality,” said Congressman Jim Jeffords, one of the sponsors of the bill. “Notwithstanding significant increases in population and economic growth, we have still been able to reduce or control emissions. But nationwide, more than thirty percent of residents still live in regions with poor air quality.”

“This bill would mandate strict emissions standards and create incentives for the use of clean, alternative power,” said Jeffords. Pointing out that his own state, Vermont, suffers from polluted air from coal power stations in other states, despite having some of the toughest air quality standards in the US. “Without inclusion of this clean air provision, our region would be unfairly impacted by competitive change in the electric power sector, as other regions of the nation enjoy low energy costs because they are not complying with the clean air standards we live with.”

A week earlier, President Bush decided not to bring in emission reductions for power plants due to fears over the effects on consumers that such an action would bring, and to doubts over the existence of global warming (see related story).

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