Court Decision to Vacate Cross State Rule Means Millions Will Continue to Suffer from 'Secondhand Smog'

Statement of the American Lung Association Past Chair, Albert A. Rizzo, M.D.

Washington, D.C. (August 21, 2012)

Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., past chair of the American Lung Association’s national board of directors, and a pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Del., calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to appeal the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to vacate the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – a decision that tosses out lifesaving protections that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted in 2011. The standards would have limited the air pollution that drifts across state lines and causes significant health harm far from its sources. To protect the health of millions of Americans, the American Lung Association had intervened in the lawsuit in support of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

“Today’s decision by the Court to vacate the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is a misguided rejection of EPA’s commonsense approach in addressing the ‘second-hand smog’ that has for too long plagued 28 eastern states. This decision means that millions of Americans who live downwind of power plants must continue to breathe life-threatening pollution. This flawed decision puts at risk up to 34,000 lives each year and stops actions that would have prevented more than 400,000 asthma attacks, 19,000 admissions to the hospital or emergency department and 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks annually.

“The court did recognize the need for power plant clean up. The judges left the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule in place in the interim and directed EPA to address the remaining concerns. The court understood that soot and smog-forming pollution from power plants can travel far from their sources, harm public health and must be addressed.

“States cannot protect their citizens from pollution that blows in from neighboring states without a strong Clean Air Act and vigorous enforcement of the law by EPA. This decision creates additional unnecessary and conflicting hurdles that delay life-saving protections from millions of tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide pollution. These noxious gases are harmful themselves, and also contribute to the formation of ozone smog and fine particles (soot).

“The American Lung Association urges power companies to take steps to immediately curtail these deadly pollutants.”

###

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.