Costs and Benefits of Clear Skies: EPA's Analysis of Multi-Pollutant Clean Air Bills [November 23, 2005]   [open pdf - 87KB]

"The electric utility industry is a major source of air pollution, particularly sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury (Hg), as well as suspected greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). On October 27, 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a long-awaited analysis comparing the costs and benefits of alternative approaches to controlling this pollution. The alternative schemes focus on using market-oriented mechanisms directed at multiple pollutants to achieve health and environmental goals. The new analysis compares four versions of the Administration-based "Clear Skies" proposal to bills introduced by Senator Jeffords (S. 150) and Senator Carper (S. 843 of the 108th Congress), which would impose more stringent requirements. This report, which will not be updated, examines EPA's analysis and adjusts some of its assumptions to reflect current regulations. The most important adjustment is the choice of baseline. The agency's analysis assumes as a baseline that, in the absence of new federal legislation, EPA and the states will take no additional action to control SO2, NOx, Hg, or CO2 emissions beyond those actions finalized by mid-2004. This baseline is put forth despite three rules recently promulgated by EPA that limit SO2, NOx, and Hg emissions on a timeframe similar to that proposed by the Clear Skies legislation."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33165
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