Clean Air Advocates Urge EPA to Reduce Smog in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Across the Eastern U.S.

April 26, 2017
Sharyn Stein, EDF, 202-572-3396,

(Washington, D.C. – April 26, 2017) A coalition of public health, conservation, and environmental groups representing millions of Americans is going to bat for the states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland in a fight with the Trump Administration over smog.

The three states have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for help reducing air pollution that is blowing across their borders from neighboring states – from power plants that have pollution controls, but are not running them. The pollution is adding to these downwind states’ smog problems and is putting the health of their citizens at risk.

After several months, EPA has not responded to the states’ requests. The Adirondack Council, Clean Air Task Force, Clean Air Watch, Earthjustice, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Integrity Project, Maryland Environmental Health Network, Moms Clean Air Force, Sierra Club, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice have now sent a joint letter to EPA urging the agency to do its job.

“We strongly urge you to carry out your responsibility under the statutory Good Neighbor provisions of the Clean Air Act to protect communities and families in Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland, and millions more in communities across the eastern United States,” the groups say in their letter. “Taking the common-sense and easily-implemented step of requiring the specified power plants to turn on their existing pollution controls and run them effectively every day during ozone season will help keep the millions of people in these communities from being subjected to dangerous smog levels.”

Last year, the states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland submitted separate petitions under section 126 of the Clean Air Act (which is part of the Act’s “Good Neighbor” provisions). The petitions asked EPA to find that specified power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were violating those Good Neighbor provisions because their smokestack pollution contributes to unhealthy ground-level ozone levels in the three petitioning states. (Ground-level ozone is commonly known as smog.)

Every one of the power plants identified in the petitions has modern pollution controls installed that the owners are not fully operating, or is capable of running on lower-emitting fuel. The petitions ask EPA to require those power plants to run their already-installed pollution controls every day during the ozone season, which extends from May 1 through September 30.

Running those pollution controls would help Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland meet the national, health-based, air quality standards for smog. It would also help improve air quality in the Philadelphia and Washington D.C. areas, in other downwind states like New Jersey and New York, and in communities surrounding the specified power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

You can read Maryland’s full petition here – it includes a list of the power plants that are not fully running their already-installed pollution controls (two of the listed power plants are also the subject of two separate Good Neighbor petitions from Delaware). You can find additional information about the Pennsylvania power plant that is the subject of the Connecticut petition and one of the Delaware petitions here.

“Every year in the U.S., air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and missed school and work days,” says the letter from the coalition. “We urge you to carry out your duties under our nation’s clean air laws.”

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