COMMISSION AFFIRMS STRICTER POWER PLANT EMISSION CONTROLS
REASONABLE, NECESSARY TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH
WASHINGTON -The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) today announced the preliminary results of a study showing that additional health benefits would be achieved by reducing power plant emissions beyond levels currently required by EPA. These results, together with other modeling work released by the OTC last spring, demonstrate that additional reductions in power plant emissions will yield significant health benefits at a reasonable additional cost.
Recent analyses conducted by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), in collaboration with the OTC, show that reducing power plant emissions achieves reduced mortality, fewer respiratory and heart-related hospital admissions and emergency room visits, decreases in school absences, and higher worker productivity.
“The science is clear; we can save lives by reducing power plant emissions,” said OTC Chair, Lisa P. Jackson, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “It is time for the federal government to work with the states to immediately implement national controls that put the health of people before the wealth of industry.”
Cutting sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) power plant emissions by approximately 20 percent from levels currently required by EPA provides $1.7 - 2.0 B in annual health benefits in the OTC states by 2018. The results show benefits in the eastern U.S. will range between $6.7 - 7.8 B annually. Additional health benefits are expected to accrue outside the geographic scope of this analysis.
In May 2007 OTC released the results of a modeling analysis showing that power plants could achieve this level of emission reductions in 2018 for $2.6 B in incremental total production costs nationally.
Based on this recent information, the OTC, an organization of 12 northeastern and mid-Atlantic states plus the District of Columbia, today reiterated its call for EPA to require deeper emission reductions from power generators, above and beyond those provided in the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).
“In light of this compelling evidence that the benefits of further reducing emissions from the power sector far outweigh the costs, it is time now for EPA to require the power sector to implement the latest pollution-reducing technology to prevent further unacceptable and avoidable health effects,” said Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and Vice Chair of OTC. Many OTC member states, including New Hampshire, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Maryland, are requiring advanced controls on power plants by as soon as 2010, showing that additional levels of control are achievable in the very near future.
The OTC was established under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to address the transport of ground-level ozone and its precursors, NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), into and through the region. NOx and VOCs are generated by power plants, cars and trucks, and other industrial business sources.
OTC member jurisdictions are: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.