EPA Proposes New Plan To Limit Pollution From Power Plants

by Quentin Blount

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new plan in the works that would help to reduce pollution from power plants and other industrial sources.

Air pollution is a problem in many parts of the world, and the United States is no different. Now, it’s true that we have made dramatic improvements over the years to clean the air. But air pollution is still harming people’s health and the environment to this very day. That’s why the EPA is proposing a new plan that will restrict smokestack emissions from power plants.

The federal plan was officially unveiled on Friday. According to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, it will help more than 24 different states meet the “good neighbor” obligations under the Clean Air Act. As it currently stands, states that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, have to submit plans making sure that their power plants don’t cause air pollution in other states. But in cases where a “good neighbor” plan wasn’t submitted or where the EPA disapproves a plan, that’s when this new federal plan will take effect. It’s all to make sure that downwind states are protected.

“Air pollution doesn’t stop at the state line,” Regan said.

He is right. Oftentimes, power plant emissions enter the air and get carried downwind causing pollution in places they can’t control. In addition, the EPA Administrator noted that the new federal plan “will help our state partners meet air quality health standards, saving lives and improving public health in smog-affected communities.”

New EPA Pollution Plan Would Protect Millions

Have any of you Outsiders heard the term “ground-level ozone?” That’s what forms when pollutants from power plants chemically react in sunlight. It can cause respiratory problems like asthma and even chronic bronchitis. People who are most at risk are those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and children playing outside.

Speaking of which, the American Lung Association issued an interesting report last year. They found that more than 123 million Americans lived in counties with unhealthy ozone levels.

It sounds like Graham McCahan, a senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, is a big fan of the move. He says the new plan “protects millions of Americans across the Eastern U.S. from smog that blows across state lines and then permeates their communities. [The plan] will encourage more power plants to invest in clean, affordable zero-emitting power, which will help more upwind states be ‘good neighbors’ as the Clean Air Act requires.”

Meanwhile, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper chairs the Senate Environment Committee. He’s a fan of the proposal as well.

“Similar to secondhand smoke, air pollution has negative health impacts in communities across the country. That is especially true for those of us in downwind states like Delaware, where over 90 percent of our air pollution comes from out of state.”