Millions of Americans Will Breathe Easier with Landmark “Good Neighbor” Rule

Rule Will Reduce Power Plant Pollution Linked to Thousands of Premature Deaths and Serious Health Threats to Millions of Americans

July 7, 2011
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NEWS RELEASE

(Washington, D.C. – July 7, 2011) Millions of Americans will be protected from invading smokestack pollution under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that was announced today, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

EDF praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s landmark clean air standards, which will provide longer and healthier lives for 240 million people across the eastern half of the U.S. who are afflicted by the power plant pollution that pours across their borders.

"These clean air standards for power plant pollution will provide some of the greatest human health protections in our nation's history," said EDF President Fred Krupp. "Millions of Americans live downwind from this deadly pollution -- from the communities that live in the shadows of these smokestacks to those afflicted by the pollution that drifts hundreds of miles downwind. Today's clean air protections will help eastern states restore healthy air in communities hard hit by air pollution, and will help all of us live longer and healthier lives."

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule tightens the limits on the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution that power plants in 27 eastern states are allowed to emit. That pollution drifts across the borders of those states and the District of Columbia, contributing to dangerous – and sometimes lethal – levels of particulate and smog pollution in downwind states.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which has been in the works for six years, will reduce sulfur dioxide levels from eastern power plants by 73 percent, and nitrogen oxide levels by 54 percent from 2005 levels when it goes into effect. The rule will phase in beginning on January 1, 2012.

EPA issued the rule under the "Good Neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, which ensures that the emissions from one state's power plants don't cause harmful pollution levels in neighboring states.

The health and economic benefits of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule are enormous and will deliver extensive health protections enabling millions of Americans to live healthier, longer lives. Starting in 2014, the rule will:

• Save up to 34,000 lives per year
• Prevent 400,000 asthma attacks per year
• Avoid 1.8 million sick days per year
• Provide benefits of $120 to $280 billion per year

Today's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule replaces the earlier Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. in 2008 for deficiencies in protecting human health. The new rules strengthen protections for millions of Americans.

Using today's EPA data, EDF has created a map to show the health benefits in individual states. You can find the map and more information here.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. See twitter.com/EnvDefenseFund; facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund