A U.S. court of appeals decision upholding EPA rules to curb power plant smog from the Midwest and Southeast will bring welcome relief to residents in Northeastern sates.
The federal court told EPA to review some factors related to setting pollution control standards in 2007. However, it left in place the agency''s January 2000, rule to limit nitrogen oxide emissions created from power plants and industries in the Midwest and Southeast.
In 1997, Northeastern states petitioned EPA under the Clean Air Act to require pollution controls on grandfathered power plants and industrial boilers in 12 Midwest and Southeast states and the District of Columbia.
EPA agreed with the petitioners and issued regulations to reduce pollution from these sources.
As part of the final rule, EPA found that a significant percentage of the air pollution in the Northeast comes from out-of-state sources.
For example, nearly a third of Philadelphia''s smog and some 28 percent of New York City''s smog come from outside the Northeast.
Numerous utilities challenged the rule as "inconsistent with the Clean Air Act, arbitrary and capricious, and technically deficient." The court, however, upheld the rule, rejecting the utilities petitions.
Nitrogen oxide, or NOX, combined with hydrocarbons in the atmosphere creates ozone, or smog.
by Virginia Sutcliffe