Clean Air

Acts Programs Rules

Clean Air Act of 1990

Purpose: Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to regulate emission of pollutants that "endanger public health and welfare.

Importance: Since its passage, ambient air concentrations for the most common, dangerous air pollutants (also known as criteria pollutants) have dropped considerably.

Impact: Notable reductions achieved through CAA pollution controls include 75% decreased emissions in primary particulates


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Acid Rain Program of 1995

Purpose: The Acid Rain Program (ARP), established under Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments requires major emission reductions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the primary precursors of acid rain, from the power sector.

Importance: The SO2 program sets a permanent cap on the total amount of SO2 that may be emitted by electric generating units (EGUs) in the contiguous United States.

Impact: Since the program began in 1995, the ARP has achieved significant emission reductions.


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Clean Air Interstate Rule of 2005

Purpose: CAIR consists of two phases for reductions in NOX and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Phase I for NOX runs from 2009 through 2014; Texas' NOX budget amounts to 181,014 tons annually. Phase II will begin in 2015 and continue indefinitely; Texas' NOX budget will be 150,845 tons annually.

Importance: The Texas budget for Phase I will be 320,946 tons annually. In 2015 and beyond, Phase II budgets are based on a 65% reduction of Title IV allowances allocated to units in the affected state for SO2 controls. The Texas budget for Phase II would be 224,662 tons annually.

Impact: EPA has estimated the benefits and costs of the Clean Air Interstate Rule and finds that the rule results in estimated annual net benefits of $71.4 or $60.4 in 2010 and $98.5 or $83.2 billion in 2015. These alternate net benefit estimates reflect differing assumptions about the social discount rate used to estimate the social benefits and costs of the rule.


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