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PA EPA AWARDS SIX UTILITIES IN SIX STATES FOR POLLUTION PREVENTION MEASURES ACID RAIN EMISSIONS

Release Date: 12/12/97
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1997

EPA AWARDS SIX UTILITIES IN SIX STATES FOR POLLUTION PREVENTION
MEASURES ACID RAIN EMISSIONS

EPA today announced the award of 3,959 acid rain bonus allowances to six electric power utilities for their undertaking energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. Such measures lead to less public demand for fossil fuel power generation, which leads to fewer emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the chief global warming gas, as well as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX), the main ingredients in the formation of acid rain. This is the eighth award of bonus allowances, reaffirming EPA’s market-based, cost-efficient approach to Clean Air Act implementation. Under the acid rain requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, an electric utility must hold one allowance for every ton of SO2 emitted. EPA allocates a limited number of allowances to utilities to ensure that nationwide emissions will be cut in half by the year 2010 -- to less than nine million tons annually. Today’s award allowances come from the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve, a special pool of 300,000 allowances that was set aside by Congress to reward utilities that voluntarily adopt pollution prevention projects before Acid Rain Program compliance deadlines kick in. The greatest benefit to utilities from pollution prevention projects stems from the reduction of SO2 emissions. Because SO2 allowances have a market value, avoiding emissions translates into additional allowances that the utility can bank or sell. The Reserve allowances granted today will not interfere with attainment of the nine million ton SO2 limit in 2010. EPA also emphasizes that no matter how many allowances a utility holds, it will not be allowed to emit SO2 at levels that would violate national or state health protection standards. Since the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve Program started in 1993, EPA has awarded a total of -- including today’s allowances -- 29,603 bonus allowances. These awards have cumulatively prevented emissions of roughly 11.1 million tons of CO2, 43,663 tons of SO2, and 40,703 tons of NOx between the years 1992 and 1995. Today's six awardees and number of allowances received: Central Hudson in New York, 169 allowances received; Minnesota Power, 160 allowances; PSI Energy in Indiana, 755 allowances; Central Maine, 2,100 allowances; Sierra Pacific in Nevada, 645 allowances; and ESI Energy in Florida, 130 allowances. For further technical information on the awards, contact Rayenne Chen at 202-564-9194 or the Acid Rain Hotline at 202-564-9620.

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