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On the Environment

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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Limiting SO2 and NOx crossing state borders

By Guest Author, Yaron Schwartz, Research Assistant, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released this past Friday the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), a new and potentially powerful regulation that limits the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that can cross state borders. CSAPR is a response to the environmental dilemma created by airborne pollutants that can disperse widely and across state boundaries, a dilemma that particularly afflicts the eastern half of the United States (for instance, sulfur dioxide emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant creating acid rain in New York’s Adirondacks). Under CSAPR, 27 states will be required by 2014 to cut their SO2 emissions to 2.4 million tons per year and their NOx emissions to 1.2 million tons per year, down from 8.8 million tons and 2.6 million tons in 2005. 

 Map

CSAPR’s public health and environment benefits could be vast. The EPA announced that they expect the rule to prevent 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.8 million sick days a year beginning in 2014.  The EPA also estimated that CSAPR’s benefits will overwhelmingly outweigh its costs.  The following graphic tells the story well. 
 

For more information about the EPA’s new rule on cross-state pollution, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/airtransport/.

Posted in: Environmental Law & GovernanceEnergy & Climate

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