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Updated and Expanded Modeling Confirms Widespread Health, Environmental Benefits of Clear Skies
Release Date: 07/01/2003
CONTACT: David Deegan, 202-564-7839
(07/01/03) EPA today released updated modeling results that confirm that the Clear Skies Act of 2003 would significantly improve air quality across the nation, resulting in enormous health and environmental benefits. The updated modeling uses the most recent air quality data, census information, and modeling techniques. The new analysis projects that Clear Skies’ health benefits are higher than previously estimated. It also shows that the country would come close to full attainment for the national fine particle standard based on the benefits of Clear Skies, the Administration’s proposed off-road diesel rule and additional existing requirements.
“The results of the updated analysis reaffirms that President Bush’s Clear Skies program would greatly reduce air pollution from power plants, cost-effectively helping to ensure that we have a reliable, affordable supply of electricity along with cleaner air,” said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, EPA’s Assistant Administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation. “Our updated modeling incorporates the best scientific and technical information available, and shows us how imperative it is for the Congress to enact Clear Skies this year.”
The updated analysis looks at the combined effect of Clear Skies, EPA’s proposed non-road rule, and other existing state and federal measures such as pollution controls for cars, trucks, and industrial boilers. It shows that these programs would bring the country close to full attainment for the fine particle standard. The updated modeling projects that by 2020, Clear Skies alone would provide tens of billions of dollars in benefits, save millions of dollars in health care costs and prolong thousands of lives because of reduced fine particle pollution. By 2020, more than18 million people in the eastern U.S. who currently live in counties that do not meet national air quality standards would be breathing clean air as a result of Clear Skies.
There are several differences between the modeling results released in 2002 and the modeling released today, including: (1) more counties are projected to meet the national standards for fine particles and ground-level ozone; (2) larger health benefits would occur, including fewer premature deaths and hospital emergency room visits; and (3) costs of controlling emissions of mercury are projected to be higher than the 2002 modeling projected. In 2020, more than 80 percent of all coal-fired electricity generation would come from power plants that have installed advanced pollution-control equipment for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
Upon full implementation, Clear Skies would reduce levels of sulfur dioxide, mercury and nitrogen oxides from power plants by nearly 70 percent over year 2000 levels. The updated modeling predicts that Clear Skies would result in more than $3 billion in visibility benefits at parks and wilderness areas, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Badlands, and Big Bend national parks. These benefits result from improvements of approximately two to seven miles in visual range. Clear Skies would eliminate chronic acidity in the Adirondack region lakes by 2030 and would also help lakes, streams and forests recover from acid rain damage. Additionally, mandatory reductions from the market-based Clear Skies program would reduce nitrogen loading to Chesapeake Bay and other waters along the East and Gulf coasts.
For further information on the new model and on Clear Skies, see: https://www.epa.gov/clearskies/ .