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Off Peak

Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1997

NOx Joke

EPA Proposal Has IOUs Fuming

Electric utilities single-handedly to reduce smog.

MIDWEST AND OHIO VALLEY STATES ARE EXPECTED to get hit hardest by the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce smog.

Ohio, for example, is home to American Electric Power, one of the biggest contributors of NOx emissions at nearly a half million pounds per year (see chart).

The EPA proposed Oct. 10 that 22 states reduce nitrogen oxide (em a key element of smog (em citing electric utilities as the main source.

If approved, the states will choose which utilities and other sources must reduce emissions. States would have until the end of 1999 to come up with a plan; full compliance must be achieved by 2012.

The Edison Electric Institute described the proposal as "unfair, expensive and misdirected."

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the 50 largest electric utilities in the East account for 73 percent of NOx emissions in the U.S.

The EPA estimated the requirements could cost about $2 billion a year; that's about $1,700 per ton of pollution removed. Much of that bill could be picked up by electric utilities.

EPA will seek public comment and plans to issue the final rules in September 1998.

The 22 targeted states and the percentage of NOx reductions are: Alabama, 36 percent; Connecticut, 21; Delaware, 28; Georgia, 35; Illinois, 38; Indiana, 42; Kentucky, 40; Maryland, 36; Massachusetts, 32; Michigan, 32; Missouri, 43; New Jersey, 25; New York, 19; North Carolina, 34; Ohio, 43; Pennsylvania, 32; Rhode Island, 19; South Carolina, 31; Tennessee, 35; Virginia, 21; West Virginia, 44; and Wisconsin, 35.

The rules can be downloaded from EPA's web site at


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