"Attention to air quality issues in the 111th Congress is expected to focus on climate change and the regulation of emissions from electric utilities. The last Congress devoted considerable attention to climate change: hearings were held by at least 10 committees, and 17 bills to cap emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) were introduced. Legislation was not enacted: a combination of opposition within the Congress and the opposition of the Bush Administration to anything beyond research and voluntary emission reductions caused Congress to move on to other issues. With fewer opponents of climate legislation in the 111th Congress and an incoming Administration committed to action on the issue, both the House and Senate are expected to begin moving climate legislation this year. Congress may also address several issues related to emissions of conventional pollutants (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) and mercury from electric utilities. Regulations addressing these emissions were vacated by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008, leaving major gaps in EPA and state regulations. While EPA can develop new regulations that address the court's concerns, legislation might provide a quicker and more straightforward solution, resolving ambiguities in current law and reducing the likelihood of further delays from litigation."
CRS Report for Congress, R40145
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