WASHINGTON (AP) — A new “good neighbor” rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency will restrict smokestack emissions from power plants and other industrial sources that burden downwind areas with smog-causing pollution they can’t control. Nearly two dozen states will have to cut harmful industrial emissions of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants to improve air quality for millions of people living in downwind communities.
The final rule, issued Wednesday, will save thousands of lives, keep tens of thousands of people out of the hospital, prevent millions of asthma attacks and reduce sick days, according to the agency.
“Every community deserves fresh air to breathe. We know air pollution doesn’t stop at the state line,? said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
The rule will take effect in May for power plants and “lock in significant pollution reductions to ensure cleaner air and deliver public health protections for those who’ve suffered far too long from air-quality related impacts and illness,” Regan said. The limits on industrial sites take effect in 2026.
States that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, are required to submit plans ensuring that coal-fired power plants and other industrial sites don’t add significantly to air pollution in other states. In cases where a state has not submitted a “good neighbor” plan — or where EPA disapproves a state plan — the federal plan would take effect to ensure downwind states are protected.