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PA EPA ANNOUNCES NEW RULE REDUCING UTILITY NIT. OXIDE EMISS.

Release Date: 12/13/96
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PA EPA ANNOUNCES NEW RULE REDUCING UTILITY NIT. OXIDE EMISS.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1996

EPA ANNOUNCES NEW RULE REDUCING UTILITY NITROGEN OXIDE EMISSIONS

EPA today announced a final regulation under the Clean Air Act that will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by nearly 900,000 tons per year from coal-fired electric utility boilers beginning in the year 2000. This represents a 15 percent reduction from current utility levels and a five percent nationwide reduction from all sources. Today's action will help protect public health and the environment in several ways. It will help cities attain and maintain EPA's national atmospheric (ambient) air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which protects humans from lung damage and respiratory illness. However, NOx emissions are also transformed into other air pollutants, such as ground-level ozone (smog), fine particulate matter and nitric acid, which also negatively impact human health (e.g.,childhood respiratory problems, premature mortality, acute eye irritation). NOx emissions also damage crops, buildings and monuments; obscure visibility; contribute to the acidity of lakes and streams; and create nutrient imbalance in waterways. Today's final rule, issued under authority of the Acid Rain provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, sets NOx emission limitations for most of the 1,090 coal-fired electric utility plants in the United States that have generation capacity above 25 megawatts. Electric utilities contribute approximately 3312f total atmospheric NOx emissions. Specifically, today's action: 1) revises earlier NOx standards called Phase 1 for approximately 600 dry-bottom, wall-fired and tangentially-fired boilers in the U.S.; and 2) sets new emissions limitations called Phase 2 for approximately 145 wet-bottom boilers, cyclones, cell burner boilers and vertically-fired boilers. EPA estimates that 85-90 percent of the facilities affected by Phase 2 can meet the new standards when retrofit with Low NOx burners, the most common NOx control technology available to electric utilities today. As part of the Clinton Administration's regulatory reinvention efforts, EPA is encouraging states to adopt an "emissions cap and trade" program as an alternative to meeting boiler-specific emission limits. A cap-and-trade program promotes cost-effective and flexible industry compliance by allowing utilities that over-control emissions at one plant to offset excess emissions at another plant. However, the cap and trade alternative must result in lower NOx emissions than would result from meeting the individual plant-byplant emission limits. Today's action will appear soon in the Federal Register, but will be computer-accessible earlier through EPA's electronic bulletin board system, the Technology Transfer Network (TTN) at 919-541-5742 (backup number for access problems is 919-541-5384). The notice will appear on the TTN's Clean Air Act Amendments Bulletin Board under "Recently Signed Rules." For further technical information, contact Peter Tsirigotis of EPA's Acid Rain Division at 202-233-9133.

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