Climate-change legislation has been a hot topic in the Senate in recent weeks, but two senators filed a bill Thursday to reduce three chemicals other than carbon dioxide from the air. The bipartisan proposal from Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper and Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander targets coal-fired power plants to cut soot-forming sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 80 percent by 2018, smog-forming oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 53 percent by 2015 and mercury by 90 percent by 2015, Robin Bravender of Environment and Energy Daily reports.
"We have a number of different things to work out on carbon," Alexander told Bravender. "But there's no excuse for waiting a minute on SOx, NOx and mercury because we have the technology, we know what to do, and we shouldn't be operating coal plants without pollution control equipment." The new bill would codify the Clean Air Interstate Rule program through 2011 and then impose even stricter limits than the Bush-era program.
The bill is co-sponsored by South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham and Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman, who are also working on a bipartisan climate-change and energy bill. "Environmental groups and utilities applauded the bipartisan bill, calling it a much-needed step forward to ensure emission reductions and regulatory certainty for the power sector," Bravender reports. But Republican Sens. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and George Voinovich of Ohio issued a statement saying they had "significant problems with key proposals of the Carper-Alexander legislation." (Read more)