The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing the “good neighbor” rule to reduce harmful smog and pollution from power plants.
Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it had completed work on the so-called good neighbor rule, which aims to reduce the harmful emissions of smog and nitrogen oxides from coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities.
The agency will require the 23 currently ineligible states to comply with a rule that places limits on air pollution from smog and ground-level ozone that seeps into other states. For example, if one state that produces ozone and smog in its coal-fired power plants sends ozone to another state, this may be a violation of the rule.
“We know this harmful pollution doesn’t stop at the state line,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told reporters Wednesday. “It’s about justice; some states have gone to great lengths to control ozone pollution, and their downwind counterparts should do the same.”
The EPA said the newly revised rule would reduce nitric oxide pollution during peak ozone periods — typically March through November — by about 70,000 tonnes in 2026. By 2027, those levels will be half what they were in 2021, the agency added.
In addition, beginning with the 2026 ozone season, the EPA will establish mandatory nitrogen oxide emission regulations for both existing and new heavy industry emission sources.
The EPA said that to comply with the new rule, most power plants and heavy industries will need to equip themselves with specialized pollution control equipment and use it continuously during peak ozone season, which varies from state to state.
Good Neighbor Rule is the last in the series from EPA regulations aimed at reducing pollution and toxic waste from coal-fired power plants. The EPA is expected to release its long-awaited regulation soon, which is expected to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants.
Democratic Sept. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin recently urged the agency to delay finalizing the Good Neighbor Rule, saying he was concerned the “high cost” of enforcing it could lead to early retirement of power plants. Manchin State Still Gets Electricity mainly from coal-fired power plants.
“I urge the EPA to delay finalizing this rule until the agency has addressed the warnings from our national power reliability experts and the serious concerns raised by state environmental agencies,” Manchin said in the letter.
Reagan stressed that the EPA listened to the energy sector’s views on reliability issues when finalizing the rule.
“This rule has some built-in features that we believe allow us to achieve our public health goals without compromising credibility,” Reagan said.