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US announce ‘Good Neighbor Plan’ to protect homes downwind of industrial plants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US have announced the final ‘Good Neighbor Plan’ which is legislation to prevent airborne pollutants generated by industry travelling from one state to another. 

The Clean Air act has compelled the EPA to take this action as it directs them to ‘address pollution that significantly contributes to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone, or smog, formed from nitrogen oxide emissions traveling beyond certain states’ boundaries’

Power Plant Ozone Season Emissions Reductions by 2027

Noha Haggag, a clean air attorney for Environmental Defense Fund said: ‘Smog-forming pollution from power plants and industrial sites does not respect state borders. Poorly controlled fossil fuel power plants and industrial sources in upwind states harm millions of people in downwind states who suffer from unhealthy smog levels. The Good Neighbor Plan announced today will help clean up poorly controlled smokestack pollution, save lives, and provide vital health protections for millions of people.’

The EPA will be setting NOx emissions control requirements at power plants and other industrial facilities across 20 states which they believe will reduce ozone season NOx emissions by approximately 45,000 tons. 

Furthermore, action will be required by individual states if they are deemed to contribute at least 1% towards a neighbouring state failing to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. 

In 2026 alone, EPA projects that the new legislation will result in significant public health benefits:

  • preventing approximately 1,300 premature deaths
  • avoiding more than 2,300 hospital and emergency room visits
  • cutting asthma symptoms by 1.3 million cases
  • avoiding 430,000 school absence days
  • avoiding 25,000 lost work days

Economic benefits would not be inconsiderable either, estimated annual net benefits, after taking costs into account, would be $13 billion each year between 2023 and 2042.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said: ‘Every community deserves fresh air to breathe. EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ plan will 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.

‘We know air pollution doesn’t stop at the state line. Today’s action will help our state partners meet stronger air quality health standards beyond borders, saving lives and improving public health in impacted communities across the United States.’

 

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