Lawmakers on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hope to advance bipartisan legislation this year that aims to cut powerplant emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Committee member Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the bill, with panel colleague Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) as a co-sponsor.

Regina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, said at a March 4 committee hearing that the bill would dovetail with EPA regulations, expected this spring, replacing the Bush administration Clean Air Interstate Rule, and a new EPA mercury rule, expected in March 2011. But John McManus, a vice president with American Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio, said that the bill’s proposed timetables are unrealistic.