Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) is holding a hearing on the GAIN Act (S. 2662), which would eviscerate the New Source Review (NSR) program of the Clean Air Act. NSR currently requires a major source of air pollution, like a coal-fired power plant, to install best available controls whenever it undergoes a life-extension project or other change that increases its emissions. Like the NSR rollback proposed in the Trump ACE Rule (aka “Dirty Power Plan”), GAIN is designed to extend the lives of dirty coal plants and will actually create a larger loophole for more pollution sources. In fact, it shows more regard for the lives of coal plants than lives of Americans because that added pollution would mean significantly more premature deaths per year.
Congress never intended the Clean Air Act to enable old, highly polluting sources of air pollution to extend their lives without modernized controls. But that is exactly what this bill would do. It is completely contrary to the purposes of the Clean Air Act, which include protecting public health through cleaning up existing sources by requiring modern air pollution controls at the time of significant industrial plant upgrades.
The GAIN Act proposes a maximum hourly achievable emissions test based solely on theoretical emissions capacity. This test would allow most sources to evade NSR review for projects that would cause an increase in both the source’s actual hourly emissions rate and total annual emissions. Under this approach, major sources would escape the requirement to install pollution controls when they undertake life extension projects.
The entities standing to reap financial rewards from the so-called “GAIN Act” are the industrial polluters who want to evade the requirement to invest in modern pollution controls. CATF sees this bill as an unacceptable approach to allowing increased pollution at the expense of the lives of thousands of Americans.
Contact: Stuart C. Ross, 914-649-5037 (cell), [email protected]