Ensuring Fairness and Protecting America’s Health from Soot and Smog
Yesterday Administrator Jackson announced the finalization of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, also called C-SAP. The updated standard will cut millions of tons of smokestack pollution that travels across state lines and into the communities that 240 million Americans call home.
Carried long distances across the country by wind and weather, power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) regularly travel across state lines. As the pollution is transported, it reacts in the atmosphere and contributes to harmful levels of smog and soot, which science has linked to widespread illnesses and premature deaths. By reducing cross-state air pollution, EPA expects to prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis, and 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma.
“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,” said Administrator Jackson.
The protections in the C-SAP rule are expected to provide up to $280 billion in annual health benefits – far outweighing the yearly cost of complying with the rule, estimated at about $800 million in 2014, along with $1.6 billion per year in capital investments already underway as a result of CAIR – the court-overturned rule C-SAP is designed to replace.
In good news for American businesses, those health benefits will mean 1.8 million fewer sick days for American workers and students.
Under C-SAP, states will work with power plants to employ widely available pollution control technology – which is already in place on many power plants. By 2014, the rule and other state and EPA actions will reduce SO2 emissions by 73 percent from 2005 levels. NOx emissions will drop by 54 percent. States will have the power to decide how best to reduce pollution in the most cost effective ways, not only helping its neighbors, but better protecting its own residents as well.
Making these changes will provide more than just health and environmental benefits – the rule will also help improve visibility in state and national parks while better protecting sensitive ecosystems, including Appalachian streams, Adirondack lakes, estuaries, coastal waters, and forests.
Ultimately, these safeguards are about securing every American’s fundamental right to breathe clean air and raise a family in places free of threats to their health and well-being. With this rule in place, EPA is ensuring that future generations will have access to clean air and all the benefits that come along with healthy, vibrant communities.