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Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev

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Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 16 Dec 2018, 04:57
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Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Evidently not so. Since the 1960s, when people started talking about clean air in the first place, the American energy industry, which includes coal companies, oil companies, and utility companies, has dragged its heels on every initiative to improve the quality of the air we breathe. Even after the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its amendments in 1977 and 1990 made it clear that controlling air pollution is a national priority, these companies have found tricks and loopholes to avoid compliance.

Perhaps the most egregious loophole is the one that allows older power plants to disregard limits on sulfur dioxide emissions until they undergo a major renovation, at which point they have to comply. Sulfur dioxide from coal-burning power plants is the primary cause of acid rain in North America. The Clean Air Act states that when coal burning power plants upgrade their equipment, they must then comply with sulfur dioxide limitations by either installing scrubbing equipment that cleans the emissions or using fuel with lower sulfur content. The law tied the timing of compliance to major renovations in order to give power plants a grace period in which to comply. Many power plants, however, have exploited a loophole in this law by instituting a series of “minor” renovations that, in effect, upgrade their equipment without requiring them to comply with the Clean Air Act. Some plants have cheated the system by undergoing “minor” renovations for decades.

The power companies claim that they have to resort to these underhanded measures because the cost of compliance with the Clean Air Act is too high. And if everyone else is cheating the system, why should they have to install costly sulfur dioxide scrubbers? This cost argument falls apart upon scrutiny. Since 1977, more than 400 power plants across the country have managed to comply with the restrictions and are still making money. The sulfur dioxide scrubbing equipment has turned out to be far less expensive than the power industry naysayers claimed it would be. Many power plants have even complied with the emissions limits and reduced their operating costs by switching from high-sulfur Appalachian coal to the low-sulfur coal produced in western states such as Wyoming and Idaho. Western coal is not only cleaner than eastern coal, but also, because it is generally closer to the surface, as much as 30 percent less expensive to extract.

Clearly, the costs of compliance with the Clean Air Act can be justified, but if these companies were honest, such justifications would not have to be made. If they were honest, they would acknowledge the costs of not complying: the health costs of increased rates of asthma and lung cancer in high-emissions areas; the environmental costs of acid-scarred forests and lakes; the aesthetic costs of a haze of sulfur dioxide cutting visibility across the eastern United States to only half of what it was in preindustrial times. When you look at the true costs you have to ask, is any cost too high for clean air?

1. Which of the following best expresses the purpose of this passage?

A. To explain how a loophole in the Clean Air Act allows power plants to avoid compliance with emissions restrictions
B. To raise awareness of the problems caused by sulfur dioxide emissions from coalburning power plants
C. To argue against a specific implementation of the Clean Air Act that relates to greenhouse gas emissions
D. To argue that companies should not exploit a loophole in the Clean Air Act concerning an atmospheric pollutant
E. To advocate the passage of a new Clean Air Act that places limits on sulfur dioxide emissions


2. The author’s tone can best be described as which of the following?

A. Angry and subjective
B. Calm and objective
C. Analytic and ambivalent
D. Grim and self-satisfied
E. Tentative and biased


3. The author most likely begins and concludes the passage with questions for what reason?

A. To suggest possible areas for current and future research
B. To pose a question that is answered in the body of the passage, and then to formulate a question that arises naturally out of the discussion
C. To gain the readers’ attention and encourage their agreement with the arguments in the passage
D. To suggest through rhetorical questions that the problems described in the passage do not actually have answers
E. To test the readers’ knowledge of the material discussed in the passage


4. According to information given in the passage, which of the following statements presents the most accurate comparison of an average ton of coal from Wyoming with an average ton of coal from the Appalachian range in West Virginia?

A. The former is cheaper and has higher sulfur content than the latter.
B. The latter is found closer to the surface and contains more sulfur than the former.
C. The former can help coal-burning power plants meet limits on sulfur dioxide emissions and costs more than the latter.
D. The latter generates more energy per pound of coal than the former.
E. The former is found closer to the surface than the latter and helps coal-burning power plants meet limits on sulfur dioxide emissions.



Source: McGraw Hills GMAT 2013 (544-720)
Difficulty Level: 650

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Originally posted by SajjadAhmad on 30 May 2018, 10:21.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 16 Dec 2018, 04:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2018, 23:08
My answers were B/A/C/E.

But the correct answer for question 1 is D.
According to me D is correct in terms of what the author wants the coal-burning companies to do, but B is an overall feel of the passage, telling us what tha author of the passage wants to convey to its readers. Please assist!
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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2018, 07:50
SajjitaKundu wrote:
My answers were B/A/C/E.

But the correct answer for question 1 is D.
According to me D is correct in terms of what the author wants the coal-burning companies to do, but B is an overall feel of the passage, telling us what tha author of the passage wants to convey to its readers. Please assist!


ANSWER: D

A and B address only limited parts of the passage. C could be a strong answer except that it mentions “greenhouse gas emissions,” which are not actually mentioned in the passage. E is incorrect because the passage never suggests the passage of a new Clean Air Act, only a more rigorous enforcement of the current one. D best captures the themes of the passage.

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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2018, 20:06
Sajjad kindly explain the Answer to Q2?Why OA is A , not B?
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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2018, 23:02
prashant6923 wrote:
Sajjad kindly explain the Answer to Q2?Why OA is A , not B?


Explanation Q#2

ANSWER: A

The use of loaded terms such as “dragged its heels,” “tricks and loopholes,” and “underhanded” suggests that the author has an emotional involvement with the subject that could be described as angry; the author also clearly has a point of view on the subject, so he or she is subjective. None of the other choices offers a more accurate description.

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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Dec 2018, 00:56
Can someone please explain why is C correct answer for Q3 and not B?
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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2018, 04:47
Hi prashant6923 pavanisonakam123

Here is the Official Explanation of all questions.

Explanation Q#1

ANSWER: D

A and B address only limited parts of the passage. C could be a strong answer except that it mentions “greenhouse gas emissions,” which are not actually mentioned in the passage. E is incorrect because the passage never suggests the passage of a new Clean Air Act, only a more rigorous enforcement of the current one. D best captures the themes of the passage.

Explanation Q#2

ANSWER: A

The use of loaded terms such as “dragged its heels,” “tricks and loopholes,” and “underhanded” suggests that the author has an emotional involvement with the subject that could be described as angry; the author also clearly has a point of view on the subject, so he or she is subjective. None of the other choices offers a more accurate description.

Explanation Q#3

ANSWER: C

The goals described in C—gaining the readers’ attention and securing their agreement—are two of the roles that questions can serve in expository writing. In this passage, the first question aims to draw the reader in by posing a question to which most readers will respond “yes,” and the final question asks the reader to agree with the key argument of the passage, i.e., that power companies should not exploit these loopholes in the Clean Air Act.

Explanation Q#4

ANSWER: E

The passage states: “Many power plants have even complied with the emissions limits and reduced their operating costs by switching from high sulfur Appalachian coal to the low-sulfur coal produced in Western states such as Wyoming and Idaho. Western coal is not only cleaner than Eastern coal, but also, because it is generally closer to the surface, as much as 30 percent less expensive to extract.” Therefore, the former—i.e., the coal from Wyoming—is less expensive, closer to the surface, and lower in sulfur than the latter—i.e., the coal from West Virginia. A, B, and C present inaccuracies in this comparison, while the information in D is not addressed in this passage.

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Re: Pretty much everybody agrees that clean air is a good thing, right? Ev &nbs [#permalink] 16 Dec 2018, 04:47
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