Enviro Group Pushes EPA for Sharper Emissions Regs

Environmental Defense is pushing the U.S. EPA to increase the pollution reductions it is set to impose on power companies in December. If the agency required industry to invest a minimum of up to 50 percent more — for a total of $72 billion — 3,000 additional lives would be saved and 140,000 additional children would avoid asthma and other respiratory ailments caused by soot and smog, said the group. Michael Shore, a senior air policy analyst at Environmental Defense, claimed that the economic benefits to public health “outweigh the costs by a 20-to-1 ratio.” The problem of power plant pollution was highlighted this week as New York Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin Crotty announced an emergency order calling on plants to cut emissions immediately, saying any delay “will result in more than 40,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide being pumped into New York’s air.” An executive order from New York Gov. George Pataki (R) mandating emission cuts is temporarily stalled in court; the emergency order is meant to push the cuts while the court considers an appeal from power companies.