The EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Posted on 8/10/2011 by James Griffin

On August 8, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency published the final version of the new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) in the Federal Register (76 FR 48208). The new rule replaces EPA’s 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).
In December of 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered EPA to revise CAIR in light of the Court’s concerns about “flaws” in the rule’s construction. CAIR was “remanded without vacatur,” meaning CAIR stayed in force until EPA could create a more acceptable rule that addressed the Court’s concerns while still meeting Clean Air Act requirements. Thus, CSAPR replaces CAIR.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, like CAIR, is meant to address the problem of air pollution that is transported across state lines by weather patterns, thus contributing to ground-level ozone and fine particulate pollution in other states.
To aid in enacting CSAPR as quickly as possible, EPA is issuing Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) that will affect emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)from power plants in 27 “upwind” states in the eastern half of the United States:
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
EPA also issued a supplemental proposal for six states to make “ozone season” NOx reductions:
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
The addition of Oklahoma in this latter group would bring the total number of regulated states up to 28.
While the effective date for CSAPR is October 7, 2011, there are several compliance phases. Phase One kicks in on January 1, 2012 for SO2 and annual NOx reductions and on May 1, 2012 for “summertime” NOx reductions. Phase Two kicks in on January 1, 2014.
EPA’s prediction is that by 2014 CSAPR will reduce power plant emissions of SOx by 73% from 2005 levels, while NOx emissions from those sources will be reduced by 54%.
More details, including FAQs and illustrative maps, can be found at the EPA Office of Air and Radiation’s CSPAR info page.

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