On July 6th, 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency had officially finalized a rule that protects the health of millions of Americans by aiding states to reduce air pollution and reach clean air standards. The Cross-State Air Pollution rule (CSAPR) regulates emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants, which can travel hundreds of miles. These new regulations are trying to get power plants in 27 states, to take more responsibility for air pollution by installing pollution control technology. A major action this rule will do is prevent smog and soot pollution from traveling hundreds of miles and contaminating the air that people breathe. “These new standards will promote the transition to a cleaner and more efficient U.S. electric power system, ” President Obama stated about this new rule.
The results of the CSAPR provides healthier and cleaner air for millions of Americans. This new rule will not only prevent 468,000 premature deaths, but it will prevent nonfatal heart attacks and cases of asthma. An estimated 240 million Americans will have an easier time breathing, 19,000 hospital emergency department visits will be reduced, 420,000 upper and lower respiratory symptoms will cease, and 1.8 million in days when people miss work or school from pollution-related illnesses will be achieved.
The CSAPR is mainly aimed at 26 states to reduce smokestack pollution because of the impact of the downwind. Pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from coal fired power plants combine with other pollutants in other states, and this creates smog and acid rain which makes it difficult for other states to reach the air quality standards that are set by the EPA. One example is the Pittsburg area, whose air pollution largely contributes from Ohio’s power plants. Including Ohio, there are 19 sources of out of state pollution that contribute to pollution in Pennsylvania. But, Pennsylvania has 12 contributations to pollution in other states as well.
Through the participation of each state, a reduction in the emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in power plants, we can save a lot of lives, hospital visits, and health issues. Potentially, this rule could lead to even more impacting rules in the fight for cleaner air, if the results are satisfying and beneficial.