Cross-state air pollution rule final

Power generating plants to be subject to new nitrogen emissions control policy


By Allie Sanchez

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going full throttle in its efforts to reduce nitrogen (NOx) emissions from power plants, which contribute to ozone destruction in the US.

To this end, the EPA has made final updates to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, according to recent reports. The rule aims to protect downwind states from air pollution emanating from outside their borders, to help them comply with the 2008 smog standard limiting atmospheric pollution to 75 parts per billion (ppb), EPA explained.

The rule will apply May 2017 to almost 3,000 electricity generators in 886 coal, gas, and oil power plants in 22 states. These plants will be required to reduce NOx emissions using current and cost effective methods and technologies.

EPA estimates that the $68 million compliance cost will yield $880 million annual benefits in 2017 as the rule is expected to reduce NOx emissions by 80,000 tons come summertime.

 “Today’s update builds on the decades of success under the Clean Air Act that has led to significant cuts in nitrogen oxide emissions from upwind states that affect their downwind neighbours,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The common-sense actions that power plants can take to quickly and affordably reduce this harmful pollution will help protect the health and lives of millions of Americans.”

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was developed under the “good neighbour” clause of the Clean Air Act, and was finalized in 2011.

Still, government expects a legal challenge to the rule. Opposition Republican-controlled states and the oil lobby have historically dissented against efforts of President Barack Obama’s administration to enact major air pollution policy.

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!