‘Good Neighbour’: US plan to reduce cross-state downwind pollution from power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency projects the proposed rule would prevent around 1,000 premature deaths and avoid more than 2,000 hospital and emergency room visits in 2026

Big Zero Report 2022

New proposals to cut cross-state pollution from power plants and industrial sources that would affect downwind areas with smog-causing pollution have been set out by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Its ‘Good Neighbour’ proposal aims to significantly reduce “unhealthy levels” of ground-level smog by establishing an allowance-based ozone season trading programme, with nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions budgets for fossil fuel-fired power plants in 25 states.

It would also establish NOx emissions limitations for certain other industrial stationary sources in 23 states that have a significant impact on downwind air quality.

Under the plans, states that contribute to ground-level smog would be required to submit plans ensuring coal-fired power plants and other industrial sites don’t add significantly to air pollution in other states.

In 2026, EPA projects the proposed rule would prevent around 1,000 premature deaths and avoid more than 2,000 hospital and emergency room visits, 1.3 million cases of asthma symptoms and 470,000 school absence days.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said: “Following the science and the law, this ‘good neighbour’ plan will better protect the health of Americans across the country.

“Air pollution doesn’t stop at the state line. This step will help our state partners meet air quality health standards, saving lives and improving public health in smog-affected communities across the United States.”

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