The acid precipitation provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and minorities' energy consumption
Description: In November 1990 Congress passed a comprehensive set of amendments to the Clean Air Act of 1977 with potentially very high compliance costs. The provisions pertaining to control of acid precipitation have been specified with sufficient detail to examine their cost impacts. These provisions will require investment in emissions control technology, mainly by electric utilities. Production costs will increase due to the required investment, resulting in higher electricity prices. This paper examines the possible magnitude of these effects and whether there might be differential impacts on racial/ethnic minority groups. Differential impacts were considered a possibility because of the differences in the percentage of total income spent on energy by various population subgroups. In 1989, the Majority group (defined as non-Black, non-Hispanic) spent about three percent of household income on energy, while Blacks spent double that, six percent, and Hispanics spent about four percent. (The differences in income underlying these figures are greater, however, than the differences in energy expenditures). To address these issues, we compare projected electricity consumption and expenditures and total energy expenditures for Black, Hispanic, and Majority households. The distribution of benefits from reducing acid precipitation is not addressed since the possible effects on ambient air quality in specific geographical areas that are directly attributable to reducing utilities' sulfur dioxide emissions are highly uncertain.
Date: January 1, 1991
Creator: Nieves, L.A. & Wernette, D.
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