Thursday, June 3, 2010

EPA Announces Tougher Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide

Today, the EPA announced a new final rule, setting a one-hour air quality standard of 75 parts per billion of sulfur dioxide (SO2) to protect the health of sensitive segments of the population, including children, the elderly, and asthmatics and others suffering from respiratory ailments. EPA's news release is here. The full final rule is here.

It's the first time in 40 years that EPA has touched the SO2 standard. According to the agency's cost-benefit analysis (using alternative discount rates of 3% and 7%), which it is legally required to prepare but legally barred from considering in setting air quality standards, the new rule will provide health benefits of between $13 billion and $33 billion at an estimated cost in 2020 of $1.5 billion. The full Regulatory Impact Analysis for the rule is here.

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