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New Clean Air Rule Will Dramatically Reduce Air Pollution in New Jersey
Release Date: 03/10/2005
FOR RELEASE: Thursday, March 10, 2005
(#05021) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized a rule that will dramatically reduce the amount of pollution coming into the Garden State from other states and reduce pollution emission in New Jersey. EPA Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson signed the final Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) today. CAIR will permanently cap emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the eastern United States. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by more than 70 percent and NOx emissions by more than 60 percent from 2003 levels.
"CAIR will result in the largest pollution reductions and health benefits of any air rule in more than a decade," said Acting EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. "The action we are taking will require all 28 states to be good neighbors, helping states downwind by controlling airborne emissions at their source."
"Each and every state must do its part to reduce air pollution because air pollution knows no boundaries," said Kathleen C. Callahan, Acting Regional Administrator. "Part of the challenge faced by states like New Jersey is that a significant amount of pollution impacting the state comes from other states. This rule goes a long way toward addressing that problem."
At the end of 2004, 13 New Jersey counties were designated as not attaining EPA's health-based standard for fine particles. CAIR will help bring all of these counties into attainment by 2010. Twenty One New Jersey counties were also designated nonattainment for EPA's health-based standard for smog. CAIR will significantly reduce the levels of smog in all of these counties.
EPA's final CAIR rule does not establish a cap for SOx in New Jersey or Delaware because, taken individually, these small states do not significantly impact particle levels in other states. EPA, however, believes these two states together make a significant contribution to PM 2.5 levels in at least one downwind nonattainment area. That's why EPA is also proposing that New Jersey and Delaware be included in the CAIR SOx emissions cap. The Agency will take public comment on this proposal.
CAIR will result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and will substantially reduce premature mortality in the eastern United States; these benefits will continue to grow each year with further implementation. The rule will save an estimated 17,000 lives, prevent about 22,000 non-fatal heart attacks and 240,000 asthma attacks nationally each year.
Next week, EPA is also scheduled to issue the first-ever requirement for coal-fired power plants to control mercury emissions. That action, plus today's CAIR rule, puts multi-pollutant controls in place for many of the largest sources of air pollution in the country.
We remain committed to working with Congress to help advance the President's Clear Skies legislation in order to achieve greater certainty and nationwide emission reductions," said Stephen Johnson. "But we need regulations in place now to help over 450 counties in the eastern United States protect people's health by meeting stringent new air quality standards."