"We congratulate Ohio for developing this plan to cut an air pollutant that helps form ozone in Ohio," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Thomas V. Skinner, who signed the approval.
Ohio EPA Director Christopher Jones noted, "The new rules are a significant accomplishment. This plan will be a great benefit to Ohio citizens, who will breathe cleaner air, and experience less ozone pollution."
EPA required Ohio and 18 other states in the eastern part of the country, plus the District of Columbia, to regulate nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants. Ohio EPA's plan will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from regulated utilities and industries in Ohio by about 120,000 tons annually, beginning in 2004.
The state's plan is a "cap-and-trade" program. It includes opportunities for plants to get budget allowances for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. One percent of the trading budget will be set aside for facilities that cut their demand for electricity or that use wind, solar, biomass and landfill methane gas as power sources.
Nitrogen oxides combine in the atmosphere with other chemicals on warm, sunny days to form ground-level ozone, commonly called smog. Ground-level ozone can cause breathing problems, reduced lung function, eye irritation, stuffy nose and reduced resistance to colds and other infections. Ozone can aggravate asthma and speed up aging of lung tissue. Children, the elderly and people with chronic respiratory diseases are the most sensitive.
A notice of the action is available at www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-AIR.