"Clear Skies" Plan Sent to U.S. Congress
LCG, July 30, 2002-President Bush sent his power plant emissions plan to Congress yesterday, some five months after he first discussed his intentions."Clear Skies" addresses emissions of three power plant pollutants, limiting them by 70 percent in 16 years, or by 2018.The proposed cap-and-trade system sets industry-wide limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide, and mercury. Under the plan, plants receive allowances for specific weight of emissions and can then sell or buy the right to emit less or more pollution from other plants.Considering the Bush Administration's environmental record, the plan might be treated with some suspicion. Senate Independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont has already noted the omission of carbon dioxide and has brought in a pollution measure of his own. Jeffords' plan includes tighter limits and a 23 percent cut in carbon dioxide emission by 2008.The Bush Administration has regularly avoided addressing carbon dioxide emission and referred to one carbon dioxide report as "bureaucracy", although scientists worldwide agree that temperatures are increasing, and increasingly compelling evidence links this increase to human-related emission of carbon dioxide."Clear skies" has been welcomed by many because it will allow operators the flexibility to run older plants while providing for monetary penalties to those who overstep their emissions allowance.The Environmental Protection Agency's website, http://www.epa.gov, claims that nationwide emissions of the three chemicals will be reduced by about 70 percent. However, for zone IX, which includes California, Arizona and Nevada, the EPA claims that by 2020, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions will be reduced by only 8.5 and 22 percent respectively, while mercury emission will be reduced by 23 percent as compared to 2000 statistics.
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