May the Source Be With You
A newly released, two-year study of the federal Clean Air Act’s New Source Review rules criticizes the Bush administration for taking steps to weaken clean air protections and calls for tighter regulations for older coal-fired power plants. New Source Review requires owners of power plants and other polluting facilities to install state-of-the-art emissions-control devices when upgrading plants; the congressionally commissioned report found that the rules have helped clean up new factories but have not succeeded in reducing pollution from older, dirtier plants. The study called for a new, performance-based standard that would force older plants to shut down within 10 years unless they met legal emissions guidelines. Meanwhile, in other clean air news, Dominions Resources reached a $1.2 billion agreement with the feds and five states to reduce air pollution at eight power plants in Virginia and West Virginia — the largest-ever settlement under the federal Clean Air Act.