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Southern Environmental Law Center Georgia Air Summit May 4, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Southern Environmental Law Center Georgia Air Summit May 4, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Southern Environmental Law Center Georgia Air Summit May 4, 2006

2 Overview Why we protect air quality through the Clean Air Act (CAA) Why we protect air quality through the Clean Air Act (CAA) What sources the CAA controls What sources the CAA controls How the CAA works How the CAA works Future of the CAA- “command and control” but moving toward market based incentives Future of the CAA- “command and control” but moving toward market based incentives

3 Public Health Public Health Increased mortality from fine PM –lung cancer, asthma, heart disease Increased mortality from fine PM –lung cancer, asthma, heart disease Ozone smog-asthma Ozone smog-asthma Mercury contamination-impairing neurological functions Mercury contamination-impairing neurological functions Degradation of National Parks Degradation of National Parks Poor Visibility Poor Visibility Acid Rain Acid Rain Damage to Crops and Estuaries Damage to Crops and Estuaries Why We Protect Air Quality- What's At Stake

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5 TITLE I: sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards for criteria pollutants, technology and performance based standards for stationary sources TITLE II: imposes tighter tailpipe and fuel standards for vehicles TITLE III: focuses on protecting human health from air toxics (pollutants that have serious health effects, such as cancer, birth defects, immediate death, or catastrophic accidents) TITLE IV: seeks to control acid rain TITLE V: creates a new comprehensive permitting system TITLE VI: protects the stratospheric ozone layer and monitors greenhouse gases The Tools: CLEAN AIR ACT OF 1970, AMENDED 1977 AND 1990

6 HOW DOES THE CLEAN AIR ACT WORK? Historically, the CAA has focused on “command and control” Through the CAA, qualitative and quantitative standards are set and enforced. Examples: National ambient air quality standards, Mandating quantity reductions, Mandating specific pollution controls for stationary sources Deadlines are set for reaching certain quantitative and qualitative goals. Enforcement

7 Quantitative Standards EPA sets numerical limits for pollutants that will be protective of public health based on the latest science. EPA sets numerical limits for pollutants that will be protective of public health based on the latest science. Each pollutant has a threshold limit that EPA determines to be harmful to public health. Each pollutant has a threshold limit that EPA determines to be harmful to public health. In theory, these limits must be met to be protective of public health. In theory, these limits must be met to be protective of public health.

8 Sulfur Dioxide (SO 2 ) Nitrogen Dioxide (NO 2 ) Particulate Matter (“PM” and “PM fine”- less than 2.5 microns) (PM 10, PM 2.5 ) Carbon Monoxide (CO) Lead (Pb) Ozone (O 3 ) - including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) (new 8-hour standard) National Ambient Air Quality Standards: Six Criteria Pollutants with Corresponding Numerical Limits to Protect Public Health

9 Regulating Air Quality EPA sets a numerical standard for each of the 6 criteria pollutants. EPA sets a numerical standard for each of the 6 criteria pollutants. EPA then reviews data from around the country to see which areas meet that standard and which areas exceed the standard. EPA then reviews data from around the country to see which areas meet that standard and which areas exceed the standard. Those areas that exceed the standards are in “nonattainment”; while those that meet the standard are in “attainment” Those areas that exceed the standards are in “nonattainment”; while those that meet the standard are in “attainment” States must come up with a State Implementation Plan (“SIP”) to address their air quality. States must come up with a State Implementation Plan (“SIP”) to address their air quality.

10 More than 127 southern counties now exceed health-based ozone standards; this creates a pressing need – and a significant opportunity – to reduce pollution from vehicles and power plants.

11 Qualitative Standards CAA language requires that technology be developed and deployed by individual stationary sources. CAA language requires that technology be developed and deployed by individual stationary sources. By regulating specific industries through technology based standards, CAA forces new sources and modified sources to “upgrade” and adopt the latest level of pollution control relevant to their construction. By regulating specific industries through technology based standards, CAA forces new sources and modified sources to “upgrade” and adopt the latest level of pollution control relevant to their construction.

12 Permitting requirements for new sources and modified existing sources. Emissions control technology, based on air quality Attainment Area: Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) = Best Available Control Technology (BACT) Nonattainment Area: Nonattainment New Source Review = Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAER) Command and Control: Technology Requirements

13 Critique of Command and Control It provides incentives to NOT install the latest technology because the permitting process is burdensome It provides incentives to NOT install the latest technology because the permitting process is burdensome Can be inefficient and costly Can be inefficient and costly However, has worked in the past and does provide a safeguard to a “free-rider” problem – requires everyone to clean up. However, has worked in the past and does provide a safeguard to a “free-rider” problem – requires everyone to clean up.

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