Friday, October 14, 2005

EPA Proposes Electricity Plant Emissions Rules Changes

EPA is proposing to revise the emissions test for existing electric generating units (EGUs) that compares the maximum hourly emissions achievable at a unit during the past 5 years to the maximum hourly emissions achievable at that unit after the change to determine whether an emissions increase would occur. Under the current law, established under CAA regulations in 1977, a plant must put in new controls if a modification increases its annual emissions; the new rules would require such controls only if the hourly emissions increase.

This maximum achievable hourly emissions test would apply to emissions from existing EGUs. The current proposal would not affect new EGUs, which would continue to be subject to major NSR preconstruction review.

EPA believes these regulation changes and a separate cap-and-trade program will curb harmful nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution faster and better than the New Source Review rule the agency seeks to modify. NSR has led to significant litigation but not much installation of scrubbers. About 50 utilities are still in court over NSR regulations. (More on NSR)

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