Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Will Save Lives, Protect Public from Out-of-State Pollution

Washington, D.C. (July 7, 2011)

Albert A. Rizzo, MD, National Volunteer Chair of the American Lung Association, and a pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware, released the following statement today in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, designed to limit the spread of dangerous pollutants across state lines.

“Today’s finalization of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is a vital component of the EPA’s effort to protect the health of millions of Americans who live downwind of power plants that belch out life-threatening pollution. This rule makes power plants behave like ‘good neighbors’ by cutting their pollution that spreads across the border of 28 eastern states. For too long, soot and smog pollution have traveled far from their sources impacting public health.

“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. Thanks to this step, coal-fired power plants will have to install new equipment that will reduce millions of tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions. These noxious gases are harmful themselves, and also contribute to the formation of ozone smog and fine particles (soot).

“Inhaling smog and soot can worsen chronic health problems including lung disease and heart complications, result in premature death, and can spark asthma attacks. This rule will save up to 34,000 lives each year and prevent over 400,000 asthma attacks, 19,000 admissions to the hospital or emergency department and 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks. The American Lung Association urges power companies to begin to clean up their emissions immediately.”

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