EPA Proposes “Good Neighbor” Plan to Cut Smog Across Much of the United States

Smog Across Much of the United States

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2022) – Following clear Clean Air Act requirements and meeting a court deadline, EPA is proposing a federal plan that would cut pollution from power plants and industrial sources that significantly contribute to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone, or smog, for millions of Americans who live downwind. Relying on a longstanding regulatory framework and commonly used, affordable pollution controls, this action would help states fully resolve their Clean Air Act “good neighbor” obligations for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), enhancing public health and environmental protections regionally and for local communities.

“Following the science and the law, this ‘good neighbor’ plan will better protect the health of Americans across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Air pollution doesn’t stop at the state line. This step will help our state partners meet air quality health standards, saving lives and improving public health in smog-affected communities across the United States.”

EPA’s proposal builds upon a combination of proven approaches to limit ozone season emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), a key ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone. Beginning in 2023, EPA is proposing to include electric generating units in 25 states in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) NOX Ozone Season Group 3 Trading Program, which would be revised and strengthened for the 2015 ozone NAAQS. And, beginning in 2026, EPA is proposing emissions standards for certain industrial sources in 23 states that have a significant impact on downwind air quality. EPA’s proposed limits on health-harming pollution from power plants and industrial sources reflect the installation and operation of proven, cost-effective emission controls, which in many cases have been implemented for years in numerous states.

Together, these NOX control strategies would achieve health and environmental benefits that far outweigh the costs. In 2026, EPA projects that the proposed rule would prevent approximately 1,000 premature deaths and avoid more than 2,000 hospital and emergency room visits, 1.3 million cases of asthma symptoms, and 470,000 school absence days. Reducing ozone levels also would improve visibility in national and state parks and increase protection for sensitive ecosystems, coastal waters, estuaries, and forests.

In 2026, the cost of achieving these reductions would be approximately $1.1 billion (2016$), a fraction of the estimated value of the benefits. EPA estimates the monetized benefits in 2026 would be at least $9.3 billion and could be as high as $18 billion (2016$, 3 percent discount rate). Annually, the monetized net benefits of EPA’s proposed Federal Plan would be $15 billion (2016$, 3 percent discount rate) each year over the period from 2023 to 2042.

EPA’s proposed limits on NOX pollution from power plants would build upon the demonstrated success of existing CSAPR trading programs by including additional features that promote consistent operation of emission controls to enhance public health and environmental protection for the region and for local communities. These features include daily emissions rate limits on large coal-fired units to promote more consistent operation and optimization of emissions controls, limits on “banking” of allowances, and annual updates to the emission budgets starting in 2025 to account for changes in the generating fleet.

EPA evaluated air quality modeling, annual emissions, and information about potential controls to determine which industries beyond the power sector could have the greatest impact in providing ozone air quality improvements in affected downwind states. As a result, EPA is proposing emissions standards for new and existing emissions units in these selected industries:

  • reciprocating internal combustion engines in Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas;
  • kilns in Cement and Cement Product Manufacturing;
  • boilers and furnaces in Iron and Steel Mills and Ferroalloy Manufacturing;
  • furnaces in Glass and Glass Product Manufacturing; and
  • high-emitting, large boilers in Basic Chemical Manufacturing, Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing, and Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills.

This proposal implements the Clean Air Act’s “good neighbor” or “interstate transport” provision, which requires each state to submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) that ensures sources within the state do not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in other states. Each state must make this new SIP submission within 3 years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS.

Where EPA finds that a state has not submitted a good neighbor SIP, or if the EPA disapproves the SIP, the EPA must issue a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) within two years to assure downwind states are protected. EPA is in the process of reviewing and acting on SIP submissions from the relevant states covered by this proposal.

EPA will take comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The Agency also will hold a virtual public hearing.

More information on the proposed Federal “Good Neighbor” Plan is available by clicking here.



Contact Information

EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)