New EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Will Protect Millions

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) yesterday, which will protect the health of millions of Americans by helping states to reduce air pollution and attain higher clean air standards.

The CSAPR requires 27 states to improve their air quality significantly, through reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states, in effect protecting citizens from invading smokestack pollution.

“No community should have to bear the burden of another community’s polluters, or be powerless to prevent air pollution that leads to asthma, heart attacks and other harmful illnesses. These Clean Air Act safeguards will help protect the health of millions of Americans and save lives by preventing smog and soot pollution from traveling hundreds of miles and contaminating the air they breathe. By maximizing flexibility and leveraging existing technology, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will help ensure that American families aren’t suffering the consequences of pollution generated far from home, while allowing states to decide how best to decrease dangerous air pollution in the most cost effective way.” – EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

These landmark clean air standards were praised by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which they say will provide both longer and healthier lives for some 240 million people across the eastern half of the U.S. who are affected by power plant pollution that comes across their borders.

“These clean air standards for power plant pollution will provide some of the greatest human health protections in our nation’s history. Millions of Americans live downwind from this deadly pollution – from the communities that live in the shadows of these smokestacks to those afflicted by the pollution that drifts hundreds of miles downwind. Today’s clean air protections will help eastern states restore healthy air in communities hard hit by air pollution, and will help all of us live longer and healthier lives.” – EDF President Fred Krupp

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule lowers the limits on the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NO) pollution that power plants in 27 states in the eastern U.S. are allowed to emit. That pollution can and does drift across the borders of those states, contributing to hazardous – and sometimes lethal – levels of particulate and smog pollution in states downwind from the power plants.

The CSAPR has been in the works for six years, and according to the EPA will reduce the levels of nitrogen oxide emitted by 54% and the sulfur dioxide levels by 73% (from 2005 levels). The rule will begin to be phased in starting on January 1, 2012. The rule was issued under the “Good Neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, which ensures that the emissions from one state’s power plants don’t cause harmful pollution levels in neighboring states.

The final rule yields $120 to $280 billion in annual health and environmental benefits in 2014, including the value of avoiding 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, preventing 400,000 asthma attacks per year, and avoiding 1.8 million sick days per year. This far outweighs the estimated annual costs of CSAPR ($800 million in annual projected costs, plus approximately $1.6 billion per year in capital investments in clean air).

Are you curious about just what the Clean Air Act has done for us so far?

Clean Air Info

Top image: d.boyd at Flickr. Clean Air Image: EDF

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

4 thoughts on “New EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Will Protect Millions

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  • You'reanidiot

    You know absolute nothing about your subject matter. You’re a socialist spewing left-wing trash over the internet. This rule will cost the public (low, middle, and high wage earners) many billions to upgrade existing facilities. Many of which will be forced to shut down costing more of the same (US jobs) and pushing us all even further down. Will an economic shutdown and US default shut you socialist up. Hardly. You will be uttering these same ignorant socialistic views as you and all of us Americans become poorer. Hate to include you with Americans as America was not founded on socialism and left-wing rhetoric.
    Become an American and pick up the “Wall Street Journal” and watch a little Fox News now and then.

    • Derek Markham

      Dear Mr. You’reanidiot: Thank you for your precious advice. Now bugger off.

    • annabelle

      its simple actually why the earth is changing: over population, greed, cars, well mainly us in general. Our greed and our politicians lies and greed. Look at how many oil spills that have happened over the last 100 years, contamination lasts 100s of years, killing off vital algae that provides us with oxygen. Deforestation on massive levels, with cities not incorporating enough plants to clean city air quality. People to lazy to get off their asses to walk somewhere (I personally have a friend who would drive her car ACROSS the street to the gas station to buy milk, I know there are a lot more of you out there). The wars going on, do you think that bombs have no byproducts? How about airplanes? People are so worried about cigarette smoke, what about all the exhaust that we breathe in. Another wonderful thing, the floating garbage mass that’s supposedly around the size of texas ( Estimates on size range from 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) to more than 15,000,000 square kilometres (5,800,000 sq mi) (0.41% to 8.1% of the size of the Pacific Ocean)* quoted from wikipedia). We are worried about killing each other, material things, jersey shore, what’s new in hollywood. We fail to look at our real problems and just think that someone else is going to fix it. Reality check. We have to fix it, starting one person at a time. I haven’t even begun on nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl, or the more recent, Japan. In total there have been well over 50 accidents, with 1,000,000,000s gallons of contaminated water.. mix that will the oil spills 1,000,000,000s gallons of contaminated water (hey, you know when its dry out, and then it rains and its all slippery from the oil? Or that leak in your car that you haven’t fixed? how you poor that stuff you’re not really supposed to down the drain? yea, that also goes to the ocean too) . Now I want you to go back to grade school, around grade 3. Remember when learned about precipitation and cloud formations? Drawing a diagram of a cloud, a body of water, some land with some happy little people or houses, whatever. Then we drew the arrows showing water evaporating to the clouds to make the clouds, and then we draw rain on us (or houses), and we see that it was just a loop? So, contaminated water goes up, rains down, goes through our rivers, drinking reservoirs, we water our plants with it. Wonder why cancer rates are going up? Where acid rain comes from? Hmm? How about genetically engineering plants to withstand a toxic substance to kill weeds. This also kills bugs. It kills.. and we put it in our food?! Monsanto! Oh, you’ve been paying US politicians? You want to control the world food supply AND put a terminator gene in your seeds? What is a terminator gene? No, not a seed talking like Arnie. What it means is a farmer cannot store his/her seeds for the next planting season, the seeds are no good. You also plant “test crops” with spermicide, plastic, etc in open fields? Yea, they do. Now everyone knows about pollination! Remember grade 3 again? Little bees flying through the crops, one crop to the next to the next. Hey.. cross contamination everyone! That’s right folks. Oh and if a farmer is planting his own seeds, and doesn’t want to buy Monsanto seeds (famous for the popular product RoundUp).. don’t worry! Pollen floats on the wind too you know. Eventually we will all be eating their products. Soy baby formula already has genetically modified soy, proven to cause cancer. Talk about starting your child off right 🙂 I hope you guys are actually looking up some of the things I’ve mentioned, you know, see if I’m a liar or not. How about alllll that beef you like so much? Estonia cited that a single cow produces 350 L of methane gas and 1500 L of carbon dioxide a day. So times that out by the worlds 1.5 billion cattle… That’s a lot of farts! And then there’s you know, over 6 BILLION people inhabiting earth. Now, just think about alllll that garbage you make, that over flowing can sitting over there. Half that stuff doesn’t even disintegrate, and whatever does usually leaches harmful byproducts into the soil contaminating underground water (we wonder why we have cancer?!). Now, think about 6 billion people doing the same thing as you, day in, day out. It’s quite simple people, we fucked up, and we’re still fighting over money and not the survival of our children and our grand children. Are they going to wear gas masks because the air is to toxic?


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