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The U.S. Environmental The EPA has a mandate under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to protect human health and the
environment from air pollution. In its 40-year history, the CAA has helped to avert hundreds
Protection Agency (EPA) is
of thousands of early deaths and to save the American public more than $49 trillion.1 Today,
moving forward with important the EPA has proposals on the table to address our burdensome dependence on foreign oil
measures to protect air quality, and the ongoing threats to public health and the climate.
reduce dependence on foreign Many of these initiatives are the results of court orders and settlements or are otherwise part
oil and ensure the protection of of the scheduled work laid out by the CAA. There are a handful of new initiatives, though all
human health and the rules in process are stipulated by existing law. For example, in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court
directed the EPA to regulate harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases under the
environment. authority of the CAA.


• Determine whether issue • Notice of Proposed • Final Rule (FR) published
falls under existing statute Rulemaking (NPRM) in Federal Register. • Analyze regulation to
(i.e., Clean Air Act). published in Federal gauge effectiveness and
Register. aid compliance.
• Analyze problem and
identify options. • Request public comments.


Industry leaders plan and invest for the future with the expectation
that the EPA will follow the law and create common-sense rules that “EPA has been ordered by the courts to enforce the Clean Air
take into consideration the effects on public health, economic Act. We support their efforts to do so. The thrust is that it’s time
to clean up the nation’s energy fleet, and it’s time to enforce the
growth, the environment, employment, productivity and the existing law.”
economy as a whole.
– John Rowe, chairman of Exelon Corp.4

“Tighter regulations are a fact of life. Back in the ‘90s we saw this as
burdensome, but we now see this as an advantage.” Similarly, EPA studies show that the agency itself regularly
– Tim Solso, chairman of Cummins Inc.2 overestimates the costs of compliance. The Clean Air Act and its
amendments have created a benefit-to-cost ratio of more than
History has shown that when EPA regulations are implemented, the 30-to-1 during the law’s first 40 years.5
compliance costs have been less and the benefits greater than
industry officials predicted.3 In fact, regulatory requirements to
“When I look at what EPA has done so far and the position
protect the environment, workers and consumers have often led to
they’re taken on greenhouse gases, I think it’s actually been
innovation, increased productivity, and new businesses and jobs. pretty moderate.”
Most often, there is no conflict between economic competitiveness – Lew Hay, chief executive of NextEra Energy6
and regulation.

1 EPA Office of Air and Radiation. “Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act.” March 2, 2011.; Union of Concerned Scientists. “The UCS Clean Air Act
Ticker.” April 15, 2011.
2 American Energy Innovation Council. “In Their Own Words.” 2010.
3 Pew Environment Group. “Industry Opposition to Government Regulation.” October, 2010.
4 Howell, Katie. “Exelon Exec Urges Congress to ‘Do Nothing’ on Energy.” Greenwire, March 8, 2011. Online edition.
5 EPA Office of Air and Radiation. March 2, 2011.
6 Samuelsohn, D. “Power Company CEOs Don't Back GOP Drive to Throttle EPA.” Politico. March 1, 2011.
This timeline provides a snapshot of some of the EPA’s recent and
future steps to protect human health and the environment.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) best available control technology (BACT)

1/2/2011 required for major sources. [Initiated 2010]

Limits set on hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers. This is known as the boiler
2/21/2011 MACT (maximum achievable control technology) standard. [Initiated 2003]
EPA will reconsider some points raised during the comment period; timeline not established yet.

Mercury, Arsenic, Dioxin Reduction Rule: Limit proposed for hazardous air pollutants from
3/16/2011 new power plants (MACT standard). New source performance standards (NSPS) proposed.
[Initiated 2004 and 2005–two rules now merged]. Comment period ended 5/15/2011.

Limit proposed on hazardous air pollutants from the oil and natural gas sector, and NSPS
5/2011 also proposed. [Initiated 2009]

6/1/2011 Revisions to motor vehicle fuel economy label go into effect. [Initiated 2009]

Clean Air Transport Rule goes into effect: Limits for interstate SO2 and NOX pollution.
7/1/2011 Replaces CAIR (Clean Air Interstate Rule). [Initiated 2004]

7/26/2011 Power plant NSPS proposed for GHGs. [Initiated 2010]

8/1/2011 Medium and heavy-duty vehicle GHG emissions standards go into effect. [Initiated 2009]

2017-25 model year light-duty vehicle GHG emissions and CAFE standards proposed.
9/1/2011 [Initiated 2010]

12/10/2011 Refinery NSPS proposed for GHGs. [Initiated 2010]

5/26/2012 Power plant NSPS finalized for GHGs. [Initiated 2010]

11/10/2012 Refinery NSPS finalized for GHGs. [Initiated 2010]

For more information on EPA rules and processes, see

CONTACT: Contact: Jessica Frohman Lubetsky | Senior Associate, Clean Energy Program
M AY 2 0 1 1 Pew Environment Group | 202-540-6356 |