Clean air is essential for the health of our people and the health of our economy.
For the people of New Hampshire to live the healthy, productive lives that they deserve, our air needs to be as clean as possible. In New Hampshire, we have a strong history of protecting the natural resources that make our state so special and are taking major steps to reduce emissions that harm our air.
But other states aren’t doing the same, and New Hampshire – along with other East Coast states – is paying the price. Downwind states, such as New Hampshire, have aggressively reduced air pollution emissions, and as a result the air in these states is significantly cleaner than it was 30 years ago, but there are still times when ozone reaches unhealthy levels. However, even if the people of New Hampshire took every car off every road in our state, we would, at best, reduce ozone by only three percent on bad air days. And on those bad air days, New Hampshire receives more than 95 percent of its air pollution from upwind states.
That’s because much of our pollution comes from upwind states – states that do not live under the same federal requirements that we do; states that are reaping economic benefits and advantages from poisoning New Hampshire’s air. That’s why New Hampshire joined seven Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States in petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require upwind states to reduce air pollution generated within their borders, which causes asthma, respiratory disease, and other public health problems downwind.
We are asking the EPA to require those states doing the polluting to live under the same rules as our states. Industries and electric power plants in downwind states have already invested heavily in pollution-control technologies, and if additional emissions reductions were required from states like New Hampshire, they would come from their smaller sources at greater cost.
The cost of removing an additional ton of pollution in downwind states (including New Hampshire) is estimated at between $10,000 to $40,000 – compared to as little as $500 a ton in upwind states, where even some of the basic control technologies have not been installed.
That is why I am calling on states around the country to join us in taking common-sense steps to address air pollution. It is unacceptable for our citizens to suffer from poor air quality because of the inaction of upwind states. We need these states at the table, joining with us to improve the air quality across our country.
We are calling on the EPA to hold those states accountable and help bring them into the Ozone Transport Region process so we can improve the lives of all of our people. The petition cites decades of inaction by the upwind states during which time the eight Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states have spent tens of billions of dollars to reduce their own air emissions, and it would require upwind states to take actions consistent with the air pollution efforts of the downwind states through the use of readily available control technologies and reliance on cleaner fuels to generate power.
We hope that upwind states will recognize the impact of air pollution in our communities and come to the table to improve the quality of life for all of our people. Thank you to everyone whose efforts are helping to ensure clean air for our people. Your work is critical to maintaining our high quality of life, and I look forward to continuing to work together to build a stronger, cleaner, more innovative New Hampshire.
Governor Maggie Hassan was sworn in as the 81st Governor of New Hampshire on January 3, 2013. Governor Hassan and her husband, Tom, the principal of Phillips Exeter Academy, are the proud parents of two children, Ben (25) and Meg (20). They live in Exeter along with the family dog, Honey Mae. Contact Maggie at: http://www4.egov.nh.gov/nhgovernor/comments.asp