CONTACT: Sarah McBride
Program Coordinator, Media and Public Engagement
Washington, DC—Today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan announced the finalization of the Good Neighbor Rule. This rule requires pollution controls on fossil fuel power plants, including coal plants, and other industrial pollution sources, protecting millions of people in the US from harmful air pollution that blows across state lines. The rule specifically addresses health-harming nitrogen oxide (NOx), which is a main contributor to smog. Moms Clean Air Force Senior Policy Analyst Elizabeth Bechard released the following statement in response to the announcement:
“Moms thank EPA for the finalization of the Good Neighbor Rule, a rule that is vital to protecting our families and communities from harmful air pollution from fossil fuel power plants and other industrial polluters. We ask EPA to continue to address the health impacts of smokestack pollution with ongoing protective action under the Good Neighbor program.
“Every day, coal-fired power plants and other sources spew out pollution that’s dangerous for our health. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from these sources can easily combine with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to form ground-level ozone, also commonly called smog. NOx can cause airway inflammation, coughing and wheezing, and a higher risk of asthma attacks, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions for people with lung disease. Not only does NOx cause trouble when it travels downwind and forms smog, it also impacts the health of fenceline communities who live near pollution sources, making cleaning up NOx pollution an issue of environmental justice.
“Smog is a major threat to our families’ and communities’ health too. It can cause breathing problems, reduce lung function in children, and trigger asthma attacks. Long-term exposure to smog may lead to permanent lung damage and can cause central nervous system, reproductive, and developmental harm.
“As mothers, we know that the quality of the air our children breathe directly impacts the quality of their lives. Children are especially impacted by smog pollution because they breathe more air per unit of body weight than adults and can therefore receive proportionately higher doses of pollution. Children exercise more and spend more time outside than adults, which means that they can breathe more outdoor air pollution. Parents around the country know the frustration and heartache of having to tell their children that they can’t play outside on a high-ozone day—or the worry about how an afternoon of outdoor play might impact their children’s health. For parents of children with asthma, the leading chronic disease of childhood, the stakes are even higher.
“Moms Clean Air Force has been advocating for stronger NOx and smog protections for years, because we understand the scale of the problem. According to the American Lung Association, 3 out of 8 people in the US live in counties with failing grades for ozone smog—meaning that millions of families with children are impacted by smog pollution every day. Today’s finalization of the Good Neighbor Rule is an important step forward. We ask EPA to keep going and continue the work to clean up smokestack pollution in the US, because all families and communities deserve to breathe clean air.”