Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a petition by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to limit sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant. Emissions from the coal-fired power plant, Portland Generating Station in Northampton County, have adversely impacted air quality in four northwest NJ
The US already has years of experience with Cap and Trade. A sulfur dioxide Cap and Trade program has proven an effective control strategy to lower SO2 emissions. It provides elements of market incentives and provides flexibility to facilities that emit large quantities of the pollutant in several ways.
One of the most important ways is that it permits older facilities which may need to operate for a limited number of years to purchase “emissions credits” to continue operating without installing un-economic emissions controls by purchasing credits. The credits are created by other sources which control their emissions MORE than required under regulations. There is also an overall reduction in the program to benefit the environment so we are not just transferring emission from one plant to another.