Air Quality

Enormous progress has been made in making the air cleaner and more healthy while energy consumption has increased. This improvement demonstrates that increased use of fossil fuels is compatible with an increasingly clean environment.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dramatic reductions have been made in air emissions of pollutants including sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead, particulates, and other pollutants. To see these improvements in graph form click on the button above (Air Quality Trends)..

Recent improvements in technology make more progress possible. Recognizing the possible gains that can be made, legislation has been proposed at the Federal level to regulate emissions of sulfur doxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), however, is a much more difficult issue.

A number of proposals have been presented to regulate these power plant emissions at the Federal level. The Jeffords Bill would regulate the four emissions mentioned above, and is considered by observers to represent the position of environmentalists. Industry groups have discussed proposals to make smaller cuts than those proposed by Jeffords. The President has put forth his "Clear Skies" bill which advocates 70 percent cuts in SO2, NOx, and mercury. Senator Carper (D-DE) has put forth a bill which has more stringent standards that the President's, but not as stringent as Jefford's proposal. Like Jeffords, the Carper bill would regulate CO2, a position UJAE opposes.

The United Mine Workers have presented a proposal which is more stringent than those discussed by industry groups, but not as strict as those advocated by environmentalists. The Mine Workers proposal represents dramatic progress in reducing emissions of SO2, NOx, and mercury, but considers the regulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases as too complex to be included in the same program as the other three emissions.

UJAE has developed a presentation which compares the Mine Workers proposal with Jeffords and a range of proposals discussed by industry groups. A second presentation listed above, compares the President's proposal with Jeffords and industry proposals.

Click here for the President's Proposal -> a slide presentation of Bush's "Clear Skies Initiative" for power plant emissions - how it compares. Also a description of the President's "Global Climate Change Initiative."


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