The following information was released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
Today's action follows years of federal efforts to compel polluting upwind states to submit adequate state implementation plans with control measures that protect downwind state residents.
March 15, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its final "Good Neighbor" rule on air pollution today. Finalizing a "Federal Implementation Plan" that it proposed a year ago, the agency is outlining minimum criteria that power plants and other industrial sources in 23 upwind states must meet in order to prevent them from thwarting efforts by downwind states to comply with health standards for ground-level ozone, or smog.
John Walke, director of clean air for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) made the following statement:
"This is a smart move that will save lives, reduce ER visits and asthma symptoms, and will continue to deliver health and economic benefits for years to come.
"EPA is cracking down on the continuing harm to public health and air quality that power plants that burn coal and other industrial polluters continue to cause across the country.
"This rule also shows EPA listened carefully to electric grid management organizations and meaningfully addressed questions about electric reliability, by adding flexibilities to accommodate plants that may need to install emissions controls."
EPA projects the rule will prevent approximately 1,300 premature deaths, cut asthma symptoms by 1.3 million cases, and avoid 430,000 school absence days, in the year 2026 alone. It will deliver even greater health and economic benefits in later years.
Today's action follows years of federal efforts to compel polluting upwind states to submit adequate state implementation plans (SIPs) with control measures that protect downwind state residents. In January of 2022, EPA issued a formal legal finding that more than 20 SIPs were insufficient.
The Good Neighbor rule for the first time will:
Impose emission limits on other industrial sectors beyond power plants including but not limited to incinerators, cement kilns, iron and steel mills, and industrial boilers, based on EPA modeling that showed emissions from these plants harming air quality in downwind states.
Cover three western states that contribute to unhealthy smog levels in neighboring states to their east.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing.