U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a new member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today said he plans to join fellow committee member Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) in reintroducing clean air legislation early in 2007 that goes farther and faster than President Bush's clean air proposal in controlling sulfur, nitrogen and mercury emissions from coal fired power plants.
Their bill, the Clean Air Planning Act, would also put the nation?s first controls on carbon emissions, which are one cause of global warming.
"As members of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Carper and I will have a very good chance of getting our legislation through the committee and considered by the full Senate," Alexander said, noting that Sen. Carper will be the new chairman of the clean air subcommittee.
The Clean Air Planning Act (CAPA) would:
Cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 82 percent by 2015;
Cut emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by almost 68 percent by 2015;
Cut mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2015, and;
Begin the first-ever national cap on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, capping them at today?s levels in 2010 and then reducing them to 2001 levels by 2015.
"Sulfur emissions from coal fired plants and other sources are the biggest factors in creating the soot that causes respiratory diseases, especially for older Tennesseans and children, and is the principal cause of the smog that obscures the beauty of our mountains," Alexander said. "With regard to nitrogen, TVA has made a good start towards controlling emissions.
"We're just now understanding the potential damage of mercury," Alexander added. I've suggested to Governor Bredesen that Tennessee may want to adopt even stricter mercury rules than the federal government has because of the potential damage to Tennesseans' health. And it's prudent and wise to put carbon caps on coal burning plants which produce 35 percent of the carbon that is emitted in the United States."
Power plants are the single greatest industrial source of four air pollutants, emitting 67 percent of the United State's sulfur dioxide, 23 percent of nitrogen oxides, 37 percent of mercury, and 35 percent of carbon dioxide.
Alexander and Carper introduced CAPA in May of 2006. That press release is available at https://www.alexander.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=998&Month=5&Year=2006