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Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Acid Rain

The Sierra Club supports a national goal to reduce current levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide production by 50% in the next ten years.

Methods to Achieve That Goal:

1. Current Authority. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority under the existing Clean Air Act to implement a program to control acidic precipitation. The following steps should be implemented:

a. Implement and enforce tough regulations to limit any credit for the height of tall stacks (CAA Sec. 123).

b. Adopt and implement noncompliance penalties for major polluters violating emission standards (CAA Sec. 120).

c. Establish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particles, such as sulfates and nitrates (CAA Secs. 109 and 109).

d. Adopt technology-based emission standards for existing fossil-fueled power plants (CAA Sec. 111(d)).

e. Revise air quality modeling assumptions used in the development of state implementation plans so as to address short-term (day-to-day) attainment of the NAAQS (CAA Secs. 110 (a)(2)(B) and 163).

f. Adopt overdue regulations to protect visibility in national parks and wilderness areas (CAA Sec. 169A).

2. New Authority

a. Control regulations must be directed at the total amount (total atmospheric loading) of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, not merely ambient concentrations as present laws do.

b. Regulations must be developed to prevent the export of pollution away from the originating source.

c. Regulations must be developed to require technology-based emission limits for existing sources. Furthermore, any power plants being converted from oil to coal must apply technology equivalent to New Source Performance Standards for coal-fired power plants.

d. The international treaty now under negotiation between the U.S. and Canada must establish the goal of reducing trans- boundary and regional air pollution levels through the adoption and enforcement of stringent emission control strategies.

e. Although research should not be a substitute for immediate pollution control action, Congress must continue to appropriate funds for ongoing acid rain research on economic and other effects.

3. Action on Other Legislation.

a. Investigate residual authorities of the Clean Air Act (CAA Sec. 101(b)).

b. Ensure that coal conversion legislation will cause no increase in emissions.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, February 8-9, 1981


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