Monday, August 22, 2005

EPA Program Successfully Reduces Nitrogen Oxide Emissions

A report released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency shows improved air quality for more than 100 million people in 21 eastern states and the District of Columbia in 2004.

Under this program, the report shows that power industry summertime NOx emissions have dropped significantly in 2004. Total ozone season NOx emissions from power plants and other large combustion sources were 30 percent lower than in 2003, and 50 percent lower than in 2000. The NOx reductions, when combined with other control programs have reduced ozone season NOx emissions from sources in 19 eastern states and the District of Columbia, by 70 percent below 1990 levels.

Continued NOx emission reductions are anticipated under the NOx SIP call and the Clean Air Interstate Rule, or CAIR. CAIR, issued March 10, 2005, will permanently cap power plant emissions of SO2 and NOx in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia. In 2015, CAIR, the NOx SIP Call and other programs in the East will reduce ozone season NOx emissions by about 50 percent and annual NOx emissions by about 60 percent from 2003 levels.
The Washington Post goes into further detail:
Under rules that took effect last year, 21 eastern states and the District of Columbia must reduce regional nitrogen oxide emissions by 1 million tons between May 1 and Sept. 30. On hot, sunny days nitrogen oxides combine with pollutants called volatile organic compounds and form ozone smog, which has been linked to asthma and premature death.

... Environmentalists also hailed the findings, saying they show that industry can operate more cleanly once the government demands it. Under the new program, known as "state implementation plan call," states have to meet an overall pollution cap but individual plants can trade emissions, so a cleaner facility can sell its "credits" to a dirtier one.
As we reported earlier this year, the Washington metropolitan area (D.C. and Maryland suburbs) gets 30% of its electricity from nuclear energy -- 10% higher than the national average. And without nuclear energy, there's no doubt the air wouldn't be as clean.

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