Last week, the American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air report. My hometown of Washington, DC, once again received a failing grade for ground-level ozone, also known as smog, a lung irritant that increases asthma attacks and interferes with normal lung development.
My children are athletes who play outside. We take regular hikes in Rock Creek Park with our dog. We go on family bike rides. But I have to check air quality levels before doing any of these activities. I don’t want to harm my kids’ lungs.
The EPA’s proposed Cross State Air Pollution Rule, also known as the Good Neighbor Plan, will reduce harmful air pollution from power plants and other industrial facilities that drifts across state borders and harms residents of downwind states. This proposal will help clean up pollution that knows no borders.
In DC, almost all of our ozone pollution comes from other states — much of it from highly-polluting coal plants in the Midwest. It is vital to my family’s health that upwind states act as good neighbors.
Ozone pollution isn’t just a DC problem. Three out of 8 Americans live in counties with unsafe ozone levels, according to the State of the Air report.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Many highly polluting coal plants already have pollution control mechanisms installed, yet they do not operate those devices. This is truly shocking. That’s like buying sunscreen and never using it!
Major polluters should be required to use the control devices they already have installed to reduce ozone pollution and protect our health.
Even worse, more than 75 coal plants across the country do not even have any pollution control technology installed at all. These power plants must install pollution controls to reduce the ozone pollution that threatens our communities.
That’s why I spoke at EPA’s public hearing last week about this proposal, in support of the agency’s plan to clean up these highly polluting power plants and industrial sources. I also urged EPA to strengthen the proposal by speeding up the compliance timeline to more quickly protect little lungs.
We all share the air. Join me in thanking EPA for the ozone transport proposal, and urging the agency to move more quickly to clean up power plant pollution.