[JURIST] The Environmental Protection Agency [official website] finalized Friday a new rule that will cap sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions in the eastern half of the country and require reductions to meet those limits. The Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) [regulatory information including text] will cut
emissions of the gases in 28 eastern states to 60 and 70 percent of 2003 levels by 2015. The gases are linked to smog and soot pollution, both of which exacerbate respiratory problems. The new rule uses a cap-and-trade format similar to that used by the Acid Rain Program [EPA backgrounder] implemented in 1990 that sets an overall emission limit and allows utitilies and other polluters to determine how to meet the required reductions. CAIR, which is essentially a regional version of President Bush's Clear Skies legislation, was pushed forward by EPA after the Clear Skies initiative failed to gain traction in Congress. The Clear Skies Act [THOMAS bill summary] legislation suffered another setback [JURIST report] in the Senate Thursday. EPA is also expected next week to finalize the Clean Air Mercury Rule [EPA backgrounder], a similar rule regulating mercury emissions for the first time. Read the EPA press release on the new rule. EPA has more on CAIR. Bloomberg has more.