- Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Ana Yábar Sterling, Pedro Herrera, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 7: Emissions trading to improve visibility in specially protected areas in the US: an alternative to retrofit control requirements in a sustainable economy
In the United States (US), the Clean Air Act (‘CAA’ or the ‘Act’) established goals for visibility in many national parks, wilderness areas, and international parks. Subsequent amendments to the Act set a national goal for visibility as ‘the prevention of any future, and the remedying of any existing, impairment of visibility in mandatory Class I Federal areas which impairment results from manmade air pollution’, and required the US Environmental Protection Agency (‘EPA’) to issue regulations to assure reasonable progress toward meeting the national goal. One of the principal elements of the visibility protection provisions of the CAA, as well as the regulations promulgated thereafter, requires installation of best available retrofit technology (‘BART’) for certain existing sources put into operation between 1962 and 1977. Regulations established an emissions trading program as an alternative measure for achieving greater reasonable progress in visibility protection. The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of an emissions trading program in lieu of BART, and its impacts in a sustainable economy in light of the criticism by the regulated entities that costs of compliance can be in excess of one billion dollars per affected source. It further discusses the legal implications of States failing to meet statutory deadlines to meet the visibility requirements of the CAA, and how the EPA is addressing, in its regulatory process, the application of visibility statutory requirements.
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