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Smog Rules Will Cut Power Plant Pollution in Eastern States This Summer

Release Date: 06/03/2004
Contact Information:


John Millett, 202-564-7842 / millett.john@epa.gov


(06/03/04) On May 31, the first phase of EPA’s regional program to reduce ozone in the Eastern U.S. became effective -- cutting nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 600,000 tons through September of this year. Under this program, known as the NOx SIP Call, 19 eastern states and the District of Columbia are required to take actions to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides or NOx during the summer months. States will achieve the majority of these reductions from power plants and other large industrial facilities through the NOx Budget Trading Program, a regional, market-based cap and trade program administered by EPA. Nitrogen oxides are a primary ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone pollution. Facilities that emit NOx in upwind states can contribute to ozone formation in downwind states. In future years, emissions requirements will apply May 1 through September, achieving NOx reductions of nearly 900,000 tons per year. On April 2, EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt signed the second phase of this rule, setting May 1, 2007 as the compliance date for controlling emissions by an additional 100,000 tons per year of NOx and including portions of two additional states. The reductions required by the NOx SIP Call will improve air for more than 100 million people living in states where ozone transport affects air quality. When inhaled – even at very low levels – ground-level ozone can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, reduce lung capacity, inflame lung tissue, and impair the body’s immune system. The SIP Call NOx Budget Trading Program was modeled after the Ozone Transport Commission’s NOx Budget Program and EPA’s Acid Rain Program to deliver important emissions reductions efficiently and effectively. For more information on the NOx Budget Program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/airmarkt/fednox/index.html. Information and background the NOx SIP Call is available at: http://www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks2.html.