Groups Stress Necessity of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

by Erica Peterson on September 8, 2011

Even though President Barack Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to abandon a draft rule to tighten ozone standards, environmental groups hope the a pending federal rule on inter-state pollution will go into effect on January 1 as planned.

The Cross-State Air Pollution rule would put limits on the amount of pollution area power plants can put out, because the emissions often blow across state lines.

Former EPA Region 5 Administrator Mary Gade says the rule is necessary so states can take control over their regulatory programs. She says in 1990, Illinois did an analysis and realized:

“…that in Chicago alone we could take 2 million cars off the road and shut down 75 percent of our industry and still not meet our air quality obligations for ozone because of the air coming in across our state boundaries,” she said.

In a conference call today, representatives from the American Lung Association talked about the different ways pollution can affect human health, and how those health problems translate into money—both from health care costs and from missed work.

Cynthia Lee of the Louisville Air Pollution Control District says absenteeism is something her agency is tracking.

“Here in Jefferson County, Louisville, Kentucky, absenteeism for students is highest due to asthma,” she said.

She says researchers are correlating data from air quality alert days and relating it to absenteeism.

The rule would limit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which have been shown to damage lungs and contribute to breathing problems.

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