ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 24, 2013

Acid Rain - U.S. Cap and Trade

Brian McLean, Ph.D., Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

November 14, 2006
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Acid Rain program was the world's first large-scale tradable emission permit system used for achieving environmental goals. The program is a multi-state market-based Cap and Trade system designed to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) across the Eastern United States. In operation since 1995, the program has shown that cap and trade programs can be successful in achieving environmental goals and that these goals can be met at significant cost savings compared to prescriptive approaches to environmental regulation. In 1999 the concept was applied to reducing summertime NOx emissions to achieve ozone standards in the Eastern United States. This presentation will provide an overview of the Acid Rain and NOx Budget programs, discussing the key design elements that will be important to California as it seeks to apply market-based approaches to reduce emissions.

Speaker Biography

Brian McLean, Ph.D., is currently Director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs, part of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. His Office is responsible for designing and implementing emissions "cap and trade" programs, such as the acid rain program for running EPA's voluntary climate protection programs, such as Energy Star, and for implementing the stratospheric ozone protection program. Previously, Dr. McLean served as the Director of the Clean Air Markets Division, which develops and manages trading programs to control emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOX), and assists other countries with the development of emissions trading programs. Dr. McLean led EPA staff efforts to develop the proposed Clear Skies legislation to reduce power plant emissions of SO2, NOX, and mercury in the U.S.

Dr. McLean has been with EPA since 1972. He helped develop the Administration's acid rain legislative proposal which was enacted in 1990 as Title IV of the Clean Air Act and was a principal negotiator of the 1991 U.S. - Canada Air Quality Accord.

Dr. McLean holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and a Doctorate in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

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