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Eastern U.S. benefits from emissions trading by power plants

Study indicates sulfur dioxide emissions shifting from Northeast to Midwest

(The on-line version of the research paper cited below is available on the American Chemical Society's ASAP (As Soon As Publishable) web site. Journalists desiring full access to papers at the ASAP site must submit their requests in writing to newsroom@acs.org in the ACS Department of News & Information.)

The controversial "emissions trading" provision of the federal government's Clean Air Act is improving the environment and public health, especially in the Northeast and East, according to a new study by researchers at Resources For the Future (RFF), an independent think tank in Washington, D.C. Emissions trading allows power plants to trade, sell and bank allowances for sulfur dioxide emissions as a way for plants to hold down the cost of pollution reduction. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a primary cause of "acid rain."

The research report is in the Oct. 15 print issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology, published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The study was initially published Aug. 31 on the journal's web site.

"The environmental consequences of trading have been the subject of considerable speculation and acrimony, especially in the Northeast," says the RFF's Dallas Burtraw, Ph.D., co-author of the study. However, he points out, the study - based on computer simulations of the trading program - shows that "pollutant concentrations are expected to decrease and health benefits actually to increase in the East and Northeast due to trading."

The findings contradict some critics of the program who believe the Northeast, particularly New York state, is receiving additional pollution from the Midwest as a result of trading.

The study
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Contact: Mary Stanik
m_stanik@acs.org
202-872-4065
American Chemical Society
13-Oct-1999


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