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Power Plant Emissions: Particulate Matter-Related Health Damages and the Benefits of Alternative Emission Reduction Scenarios

June 1, 2004

This report estimates the avoidable health effects of each of a series of alternative regulatory scenarios for power plants, focusing on the adverse human health effects due to exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5, which are particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter). This report uses the same analytical methods that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency used in 2003 to prepare an analysis of the potential health effects of the proposed Clear Skies Act (EPA 2003). This report conducts an analysis of the impacts in 2010 and 2020 of three policy alternatives to the proposed Clear Skies Act: 1) Carper/Gregg/Chaffee “The Clean Air Planning Act”, S. 834 (henceforth “Carper”), 2) The Jeffords/Lieberman/Collins “The Clean Power Act”, S. 366 (henceforth “Jeffords”), 3) The EPA August 2001 Straw Proposal (one of several alternatives EPA analyzed prior to the announcement of the Clear Skies Initiative in 2002), henceforth “Straw.”

Following the methods used in the 2003 EPA analysis of the proposed Clear Skies Act, this study estimates the health impacts from various policy options for reducing power plant air pollution emissions. Using the same emissions estimates and air quality forecasting methods as EPA used in the Clear Skies Act analysis, we prepare detailed future ambient air quality estimates for each of the nine scenarios described above. We then used the same health assessment methods as EPA to estimate the avoidable health effects associated with the changes in ambient air quality. Because we used the same methods and data as the 2003 EPA analysis, the results here are directly comparable with EPA.s estimates of the future baselines for 2010 and 2020, as well as EPA.s estimates of the potential improvements if the proposed Clear Skies Act is implemented.