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S. 1844 (108th): Clear Skies Act of 2003

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Nov 10, 2003.

Clear Skies Act of 2003 - Amends the acid deposition control provisions of the Clean Air Act with respect to emissions limitations and allowances programs for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury by: (1) revising the allowance system and associated transfer, tracking, permit, compliance plan, and penalty requirements, including those for auctions; and (2) establishing new emissions limitations and trading programs (including implementation of a separate sulfur dioxide scheme for States in the Western Regional Air Partnership). Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to: (1) promulgate performance standards (limiting emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and mercury) for new boilers, integrated gasification combined cycle plants, and combustion turbines; and (2) conduct a comprehensive research and environmental assessment program to enhance understanding of health and environmental effects of particulate matter and mercury and to demonstrate the efficacy of emission reductions under this Act. Excludes the following units from consideration as major emitting facilities or major stationary sources (or parts thereof) for purposes of compliance with provisions concerning prevention of significant deterioration of air quality and plan requirements for nonattainment areas: those that achieve a specified limit on particulate matter emissions or certain national emissions standards for hazardous pollutants or those with properly operated and maintained equipment to limit particulate matter emissions and that use good combustion practices to minimize carbon monoxide emissions. Establishes procedures by which owners or operators may petition the Secretary of Energy for a determination that electricity reliability will likely be threatened by the need to install pollution control technology. Allows a compliance delay in the case of a successful petition. Requires States to ensure in implementation plans that: (1) in an attainment or unclassifiable area, any emissions increase from the construction or modification of an affected unit will not result in exceeding a national ambient air quality standard; and (2) in a nonattainment area, the emissions increase will not interfere with a program to assure the achievement of such a standard. Provides for designation of transitional areas under implementation plans and states requirements for emissions inventories, the attainment of standards by the end of 2015, and penalties for not meeting the eight-hour ozone or fine particles standard.