Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Finalized. Will Power Sector Legal Challenges Follow

In a move to reduce nitrogen (NOx) emissions from power plants that contribute to ozone pollution in the eastern US, the EPA has finalized updates to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The rule, which aims to protect downwind states from pollution emitted outside their borders, will help states comply with a 2008 smog standard that limits ozone pollution to 75 parts per billion, the agency says. Beginning in May 2017, the new rule will affect 2,875 electric generating units at 886 coal, gas and oil power plants in 22 states. The agency says these power plants can achieve the required NOx emissions reductions using existing, cost-effective technology. This rule and other power-sector regulations are expected to cut summertime NOx emissions by 80,000 tons — a 20 percent reduction from 2015 levels, the EPA says. It estimates the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will provide annual benefits of up to $880 million in 2017 while costing the industry $68 million to comply with the rule.

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