February 04, 2010

(Washington, D.C.)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined a bipartisan group of Senators today to introduce the Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010, which she co-sponsored. The bill calls for an aggressive - yet achievable - schedule for power plants to reduce their emissions and alleviate some of our worst air-related health and environmental problems, such as ozone, acid rain, and mercury contamination. 

"Improving air quality is critical to protecting public health and the environment in New Hampshire, and this bill lays out tough but achievable steps we need to safeguard our children and families from dangerous pollutants. In New Hampshire alone, it is estimated that we spend $1 billion per year on health costs relating to air pollution, and we must do what we can to protect the public," said Shaheen.

Air pollution is a costly health risk. According to a 2004 New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Report "Air Pollution Transport and How It Affects New Hampshire," air pollution is responsible for 123 premature deaths, 1,947 asthma attacks, and 17,146 lost work days in New Hampshire in a single year.

The bill would set standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) for eastern states, strengthen national limits on emissions of SO2 and NOx from power plants and create new trading systems that will enable cost effective reductions of the pollutants, and direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut mercury emissions at least 90 percent through the best available technology.

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joins Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in supporting the tougher emission standards. 

Shaheen has long supported tough air quality standards as a means to protect the public health. In 2002, while Shaheen was governor, New Hampshire became the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring fossil fuel-fired power plants to reduce emissions of four criteria pollutants - sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury, and carbon dioxide (CO2). In 1999, Shaheen signed into law a first-in-the-nation measure creating a voluntary greenhouse gas registry for New Hampshire businesses.

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