In an attempt to make coal power cleaner, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will impose strict new regulations to reduce coal emissions. The new laws, to be officially announced by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Thursday, July 7, will affect plants in 27 states whose pollution blows into other states. The regulations are expected to save 14,000 to 36,000 lives per year according to Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association.
The new regulations target a 73 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide and 54 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2014. These emissions are responsible for the smog and ash pollution that is particularly dangerous to those with heart and lung disease.
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The new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will target the problem of coal pollution traveling across state lines. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to address such issues. Under the new laws, plants will begin reducing emissions in 2012.
Several businesses and Republican opposition to the EPA’s increasingly stringent regulations claim the new rules will kill American jobs and potentially put some companies out of business. However, the EPA claims the reduced emissions will not only save lives, but also lower health and environmental costs by $280 billion each year. The agency believes that figure far outweighs the $800 million cost of compliance for energy companies and related businesses.