Alexander, Carper Say National Parks Report Underscores Need for New Clean Air Legislation

Posted on August 16, 2006

WASHINGTON– Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Tom Carper, D-Del. today issued the following statement regarding a report by the National Parks Conservation Association on how air pollution continues to be a problem for our national parks: "Today's report by the National Parks Conservation Association highlights how air pollution continues to plague some of our country's greatest treasures. While we've made significant progress over the past 25 years in reducing harmful air pollutants, the fact is that current environmental regulations simply won't be enough to protect fully our country's valuable natural resources. The Clean Air Planning Act would significantly reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury above and beyond current law, while also encouraging the development of clean-coal power plants across the country." Sens. Alexander and Carper are the leading cosponsors of the Clean Air Planning Act, which would place new controls on power plant emissions of mercury, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, resulting in cleaner air than under the administration’s new Clean Air Interstate (CAIR) and mercury rules, or the president’s “Clear Skies” legislation. In addition to Sens. Alexander and Carper, the bill is cosponsored by Sens. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mary Landrieu, D-La. Specifically, CAPA would: · Reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent at every power plant in the country by 2015; · Reduce nitrogen oxide by almost 68 percent by 2015. The bill would set up a cap-and-trade program to reduce NOx with Eastern and Western zones so that NOx pollution is reduced in the area where it causes the most health and environmental problems. · Reduce sulfur dioxide by more than 82 percent by 2015. The bill would set up a cap-and-trade program for SO2. The cap is the most stringent of all the competing clean air bills. · Cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants at 2006 levels by 2010 and reduce them to 2001 levels by 2015. Power plants could meet these new requirements either by reducing their own CO2 emissions or buying CO2 “credits” on the open market from other industries that can more cheaply reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.