EPA’s Good Neighbor Plan Reduces Smog-Causing Pollution in Downwind States, Helping Millions of People Breathe Easier

March 15, 2023
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – March 15, 2023) EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the final Good Neighbor Plan today – an action that will protect millions of Americans from dangerous, smog-forming pollution that travels downwind. The Good Neighbor Plan requires poorly controlled power plants and industrial sources that contribute to harmful interstate air pollution to modernize their pollution controls in accordance with the Good Neighbor protections under our nation’s clean air laws.

“Smog-forming pollution from power plants and industrial sites does not respect state borders,” said Noha Haggag, a clean air attorney for Environmental Defense Fund. “Poorly controlled fossil fuel power plants and industrial sources in upwind states harm millions of people in downwind states who suffer from unhealthy smog levels. The Good Neighbor Plan announced today will help clean up poorly controlled smokestack pollution, save lives, and provide vital health protections for millions of people.”

The Good Neighbor Plan will reduce the harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution emitted by fossil fuel-fired power plants and industrial sources. NOx is a key ingredient in ground-level ozone, commonly called smog.  Smog is a caustic pollutant that is linked to serious heart and lung diseases and premature deaths. It is especially dangerous for children as their lungs are still developing, but also poses an increased risk to people with asthma, the elderly, and people who are active outdoors. 

The Good Neighbor protections of the Clean Air Act require the EPA to ensure that emissions from upwind states do not significantly contribute to harmful pollution levels in downwind neighboring states. The protections announced today will reduce NOx pollution from power plants and industrial sources in 23 states, beginning in this summer’s ozone season. When carried out, the pollution reductions are expected to save thousands of lives and prevent millions of asthma attacks.

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