NOX EMISSIONS. Generating heavy criticism from industry, on September 24 the Environmental Protection Agency released its long-awaited final rules on nitrogen oxide emissions, outlining a plan to reduce NOx by 28 percent by year 2007 in some 22 states and the District of Columbia, with state implementation plans due by September 1999 and controls in place by 2003, to be carried out through a "cap and trade" program to buy and sell NOx emissions credits.
In its analysis of cost-effectiveness, the EPA identified NOx control costs for fossil-fired steam electric generating units producing power for sale using several different control levels, settling on a level of 0.15 lb/MMbtu, yielding an average cost of $1,503 per ton, well under the threshold of $2,000 that it deemed cost effective. The rules set up a separate control category for boilers and turbines that generate electricity for private internal use. Download the rule at http://www.epa.bov/ttn/oarpg, pending publication in Federal Register.
NUCLEAR PLANT DECOMMISSIONING. Rejecting a framework proposed by the Nuclear Energy Institute, which appeared more lenient, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued final rules to reconcile the safety of funds for nuclear plant decommissioning, with the prospect that nuclear plants may face shutdown or a failure to recover costs under industry restructuring and competition.