"Good Neighbors" can help millions breathe easy

Maryland's petition urges coal plants to use their already-installed pollution controls, Trump's EPA has failed to take protective action

Update: Following EPA’s denial of Maryland and Delaware’s petitions, EDF intervened with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to protect people in downwind states from dangerous pollution. In May 2020 the court granted Maryland’s petition in part and sent the issue back to EPA to reconsider.

Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut have petitioned EPA under the Clean Air Act's "Good Neighbor" safeguards to reduce smog-forming pollution discharged by out-of-state coal plant smokestacks. EDF supports these common-sense Good Neighbor petitions, noting:

  • Ground-level ozone pollution (smog) is harmful to human health. EPA has determined that ozone is associated with deaths, hospitalizations, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, and other serious harms. Millions of children, the elderly, people with respiratory disease, and those working and active outside are especially at risk.
  • Many power plants that contribute to health-harming ozone levels in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have already installed controls to reduce their pollution – but they are not fully operating these control technologies. Pollution from these coal plants harms millions who live in nearby communities and in downwind states.
  • The oxides of nitrogen pollution discharged from these smokestacks also contributes to acid deposition damaging forests and lakes across the region.
  • Maryland's reasonable Good Neighbor petition asks EPA to require upwind coal plants to simply run their pollution controls during the summer ozone season — in short, it asks that the owners of these coal plants be Good Neighbors.

The maps below show oxides of nitrogen (NOx) pollution from 36 coal-fired units at 19 power plants with already installed pollution controls that are not being fully operated to protect human health and the environment.

The owners and operators of these 36 coal-fired units can help their neighbors — both those nearby neighbors living in the shadows of their smokestacks and the millions living in downwind communities and states - breathe more easily.

Power Plants + Human Health

Power Plants + Ecosystem Impacts

Learn more about Maryland's Good Neighbor petition to EPA and the state's announcement that it will sue EPA for its failure to act, as well as EDF's statement in support of Maryland's actions. Also read the letter from a coalition of health and environmental groups urging former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to carry out his bedrock responsibilities under our nation's clean air laws by approving this common-sense petition.