LWVUS joined 60 partnering organizations in a letter to members of Congress in opposition to S.J. Res 31/H.J. Res 69. This resolution would roll back critical efforts to address dangerous interstate ozone pollution through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finalized Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The letter urged members of Congress to vote NO on S.J. Res 31/H.J. Res 69 to protect human health and the environment from smog pollution that crosses state lines.
July 18, 2023
Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of our millions of members and supporters across the country, we write to express our strong opposition to S.J. Res 31/H.J. Res 69, the resolution to roll back critical efforts to address dangerous interstate ozone pollution through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finalized Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The Good Neighbor Plan protects residents in dozens of downwind states who are subjected to harmful air pollution from power plants and industrial facilities often hundreds of miles away. This type of pollution significantly contributes to ground-level ozone, or smog. For healthy individuals, exposure to even low levels of smog can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation; for at-risk populations, such as children, outdoor workers, the elderly, and individuals with asthma, the impacts can be even more severe. Long-term and repeated exposure may cause asthma, worsen heart disease, permanently disrupt healthy lung development and scar lung tissue.
The limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) power plant pollution finalized in the Good Neighbor Plan build upon existing Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) trading programs and incorporate additional features such as daily emissions rate limits on large coal-fired units to promote more consistent operation and optimization of emissions controls, limits on “banking” of allowances, and phasing in annual updates to the emissions budgets to account for changes in the generating fleet. Modern pollution controls are readily available and already in operation on many units with no impact on grid reliability. In addition, new emission standards for industrial sources will promote consistent use of pollution controls to reduce air pollution affecting neighboring states. EPA designed the Good Neighbor Plan to address specific interstate air pollution pathways between 23 states, limiting dangerous levels of air pollution before it can be carried downwind.
Reducing smog pollution through this rule will provide up to $15 billion in yearly benefits by 2026, far outweighing any costs from the new regulation. In fact, by 2026, EPA projects that "every year the rule will prevent up to 1,300 premature deaths, reduce hospital and emergency room visits for thousands of people with asthma and other respiratory symptoms, help keep hundreds of thousands of children and adults from missing school and work due to respiratory symptoms, and decrease asthma symptoms for millions of Americans.” Reducing smog levels also has a positive impact on agricultural crops and the environment, improves visibility in national and state parks, and increases protection for other sensitive ecosystems.
Air pollution knows no state boundaries, and downwind state residents cannot afford to continue breathing the disease-causing smog pollution of their upwind neighbors. It is time fossil fuel power plants and industrial facilities that are polluting communities, often communities of color and low wealth communities, do their part to limit pollution that crosses state lines.
For these reasons, we, the undersigned organizations, urge you to vote NO on S.J. Res 31/H.J. Res 69 to protect human health and the environment from smog pollution that crosses state lines.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for considering our views.
See attachment for full list of signatories