The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it's taken several actions to assure "timely and efficient implementation" of the Clean Air Interstate Rule.

CAIR, issued last March, is designed to achieve the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade, the EPA said. The rule requires 28 states and the District of Columbia to reduce power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.

When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 70 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 60 percent from 2003 levels.

The EPA said those reductions are expected to result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and help prevent an estimated 17,000 premature deaths annually.

Among actions taken Thursday, the EPA ruled solid waste incinerators -- particularly municipal waste incinerators -- are not considered electric generating units.

In a related action, the EPA included Delaware and New Jersey in CAIR rules.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International