EPA Acid Rain Report Released -- Finally!
forestfair at aol.com
Wed Oct 4 22:15:22 EST 2000
>From the Albany (NY) Times Union, October 3, 2000
EPA report touts acid rain controls
Study says proposed measure would help reduce emissions and save
thousands of lives and billions of dollars
WASHINGTON -- Legislation curbing acid rain emissions would save 10,000
lives annually while increasing the average household utility bill by
just $1 per month, according to a Clinton administration report released
The report by the Environmental Protection Agency analyzes a bill
sponsored by Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Rep. Sherwood
Boehlert, R-New Hartford, that would sharply reduce nitrogen oxide and
sulfur dioxide emissions. It tallies annual health benefits beginning in
2010 at $60 billion. The costs of reining in the emissions are $5
billion, for a net benefit of $55 billion, the report found.
Opponents of the Moynihan-Boehlert bill said they had not seen the study
and could not comment on its findings. But in the past they have
questioned whether pollution in the Midwest is responsible for smog in
the heavily populated Northeast.
"This isn't just ammunition for our bill, it's a whole arsenal,''
Boehlert said Monday.
"It shows the rest of the country how inexpensive it will be to fix the
problem and gives the Midwest a real reason to want to go along,''
Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan said.
The northeastern states say much of the nitrogen and sulfur pollution
originates in the Midwest. Smog from coal-burning plants in the region
is carried east on prevailing winds. Acid rain is formed when nitrogen
and sulfur in smog mix with airborne moisture and fall as rain or snow.
New York's Adirondack Mountains have been hit particularly hard.
This summer, a Times Union series, "Troubled Waters: The threat to
Adirondacks lakes,'' detailed the damage caused by acid rain and
reported that unless conditions change -- mainly by cutting air
pollution from power plants hundreds of miles south and west of the
region -- half of the mountains' lakes will be dead in 40 years.
A recent report from the U.S. General Accounting Office found that
mountain soil in the Adirondack State Park isn't absorbing nitrogen
oxide, so it is flowing directly into waterways and ponds and causing
them to die.
While much of the attention on acid rain has focused on the Northeast,
the report paints the problem as a national one. It finds, for instance,
that $6.4 billion in benefits would be felt in western states.
The Moynihan-Boehlert bill would cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 70
percent above the levels mandated in the 1990 Clean Air Act and sulfur
dioxide emissions by 50 percent.
Moynihan first requested the cost-benefit analysis in 1998. The study
was completed in March and forwarded to the Office of Management and
Budget for review.
Last week, the House Government Reform Committee at the urging of Rep.
John McHugh, R-Jefferson County, issued a subpoena to obtain the report.
Boehlert blames an administration delay with making it all but
impossible to get the bill passed in the handful of days Congress has
left before adjourning this year. New York lawmakers have written a
flurry of letters in recent weeks asking for the report that were
ignored, he said.
But EPA Assistant Administrator Bob Perciasepe wrote in a letter to
House Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Burton that he was
"surprised and disappointed'' that the committee had resorted to a
There has been speculation the administration was hesitant to release a
report essentially advocating an increase in energy costs in a
presidential election season when soaring energy costs are already much
in the news. The EPA has denied politics were involved.
The report also says passage of the bill would produce 2,000 fewer
asthma emergency room visits annually, prevent 5,000 new cases of
chronic bronchitis and eliminate 1.5 million days of lost work. It would
also add $1.2 billion in visibility improvements in scenic national
parks, notably the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks.
By SHANNON McCAFFREY, Associated Press
First published: Tuesday, October 3, 2000
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