Today, the EPA revealed its long awaited Cross-State Air Pollution Rule(formerly known as the Transport Rule), designed to protect air in states located downwind from other major polluting states. 27 states will be required to reduce smog and soot from power plants, resulting in an estimated 73% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions and 54% in nitrogen oxide emissions below 2005 levels by 2014. This rule will also save an estimated 13,000 to 34,000 lives per year.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule replaces the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) that was issued in March 2005 to cap emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the eastern United States. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Court ordered the EPA to revisit this rule in July 2008 because it did not meet the necessary public health standards required under the Clean Air Act. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson first proposed this updated rule in July 2010.
The need for this updated standard is well understood by many members of Congress, notably Senator Tom Carper (D-Del), Chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Carper often refers to his state as “the nation’s tailpipe” because an estimated 90% of its pollution originates in upwind states, commenting in a recent hearing that Delaware is paying the full price of neighboring states’ dirty energy.
In her announcement today, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said this rule is “to ensure that no community has to bear the burden of another community’s polluters”. LCV agrees with Jackson and strongly supports the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule because it will save lives, clean up pollution and protect public health.