EPA Unveils Update to Life-Saving Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Final Update Announced Today Will Mean Cleaner Air for American Communities and Families

September 7, 2016
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – September 7, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized an important update to its historic Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is already providing healthier air for hundreds of millions of Americans across the Eastern U.S. The update to the rule, which was unveiled today, will build on that success and provide stronger clean air protections for communities and families in 22 states. 

“Today’s new and improved Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will help reduce harmful smog pollution from power plants,” said EDF Senior Attorney Graham McCahan. “The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is already using common sense, achievable steps to protect 240 million Americans from pollution that’s linked to asthma attacks, heart and lung diseases, and even early death. With today’s improvements we can reduce that dangerous pollution even further, and give American families and communities cleaner, healthier air.”

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was created under the “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, and finalized in 2011. The rule reduces sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants across the eastern states. Those emissions, and the resulting particulate pollution and ozone — more commonly known as soot and smog — drift across the borders of those states and contribute to dangerous, sometimes lethal, levels of pollution in downwind states. The Supreme Court upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in April of 2014. 

Today’s update to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule identifies cuts in power plant emissions in 22 states that can be achieved by 2017 using existing, cost-effective technology. The original Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was designed to help states meet the 1997 and 2006 health-based standards for soot pollution and the 1997 health-based standards for smog pollution. Today’s updates will help states achieve the more-protective 2008 health-based smog standard.

EPA estimates the updated rule will:

  • Contribute to an expected 20 percent reduction in smog-forming pollution from 2015 to 2017
  • Prevent more than 67,000 asthma attacks each year
  • Prevent almost 56,000 days of missed school and work each year
  • Provide annual benefits of up to $880 million dollars
  • Provide American families with $13 in health benefits for every dollar invested

You can read more about the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on EDF’s website.

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