News In Brief

Technologists offer policy strategem against acid rain

Hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved by permitting utilities to devise their own strategies to control sulfur dioxide rather than imposing mandatory controls on them, a congressional report said Wednesday. Sulfur dioxide is a key component of acid rain.

If left free to reduce emissions in the cheapest way possible, utilities in the 31 easternmost states would use low-sulfur coal, either by itself or blended with higher-sulfur coal; would wash coal; and would use wet and dry scrubbers on smokestacks, the report by the Office of Technology Assessment said.

But the 323-page report noted that several bills in Congress require mandatory technical controls such as wet scrubbers.

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