Reform or Rollback?

On December 31, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced sweeping changes to the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) program. One of the most significant would allow industrial plants (other than utilities) to increase air emissions to their highest level in the past 10 years without being subject to NSR permit or pollution control requirements. The EPA has stated that pollution increases under the new NSR rule will generally be held in check by other Clean Air Act restrictions.

A joint analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project and the Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference (EIP-CSG/ERC) reveals that the revised NSR rule could allow significant increases in emissions. In addition, the analysis finds that emissions growth from industrial facilities will often not be limited by other federal programs absent NSR.