States, Congress, Environmental Groups Oppose New EPA Regulation

Reppert, Barton
June 2005
BioScience;Jun2005, Vol. 55 Issue 6, p476
Academic Journal
The article reports the opposition of state governments, U.S. Congress and environmental groups to the mercury emissions reduction policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The mercury rule would supersede a decision by EPA in 2000 to strictly regulate mercury from power plants as a hazardous pollutant under the terms of the Clean Air Act. The rule contribute to acid rain, establishes a national annual cap on emissions from power plants and allows individual utilities to choose whether to reduce their emissions or to instead buy credits from other companies operating lower-emitting plants. The EPA says this approach is designed to provide an incentive to cut emissions nationwide without mandating costly reductions at specific individual facilities. According to the EPA, when the rule is fully implemented in 2018, mercury emissions will have dropped from 48 tons per year to 15 tons per year. Two days after the rule was announced, a group of 10 Republican House members, led by Science Committee chairman Sherwood Boehlert of New York, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson expressing deep disappointment with the rule. For those monitoring public policy developments, the eventual fate of the new mercury rule is likely to offer another significant test case of whether the U.S. President George W. Bush administration's industry friendly regulatory approach will prevail in the years ahead, or whether mounting pressure from state governments. Congress, and public interest groups will prompt the administration to accept stricter controls on major environmental hazards.


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