Regulating mercury with the Clear Skies Act : the resulting impacts on innovation, human health, and the global community
Author(s)Sweeney, Meghan (Meghan Kathleen)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
Nicholas A. Ashford.
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The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments require the U.S. EPA to control mercury emission outputs from coal-burning power plants through implementation of MACT, Maximum Achievable Control Technology, standards. However, in 2003 the Bush Administration revealed an alternative and controversial regulatory strategy for mercury, developing a cap and trade emissions credit trading program under the Clear Skies Initiative. Although emissions trading was proven to be a successful regulatory strategy for sulfur dioxide through the 1992 Acid Rain Program, the uniquely dangerous properties of mercury make this market-based regulation risky for certain vulnerable segments of the population. Since its unveiling, the Clear Skies cap and trade approach has been criticized for being too industry-friendly and inadequately setting limits on mercury emissions. Current challenges to the Clear Skies approach to the regulation of mercury claim that not only is it illegal under the Clear Air Act, but that it inhibits innovation and undermines an international strategy to reduce anthropogenic mercury emissions. This thesis evaluates the critiques of Clear Skies and the reasoning given by the EPA in defense of the regulation.(cont.) Recent academic studies and a comparison case study with the Acid Rain Program are used to discuss the probable effects of Clear Skies on mercury reduction. The main questions addressed in the thesis are: 1) what is the motivation for Clear Skies? 2) what is the legal basis for the Initiative? 3) what are the potential failures of Clear Skies in protecting against mercury exposure? 4) what will be the resulting impact of Clear Skies on technological innovation? and 5) how does Clear Skies compare with international mercury reduction strategies?
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, Technology and Policy Program, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 81-87).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Technology and Policy Program.