EPA rejects requests to address cross-state emissions

Source: Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2018

EPA has rejected petitions from Maryland and Delaware seeking federal help in curbing emissions from coal-fired power plants in other states that allegedly contributed to downwind ozone problems.

In a “notice of final action” signed Friday by acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler and posted online this morning, the agency said it was denying the “good neighbor” petitions, all filed in 2016, based on “the best information available” and in particular because of the role of its existing Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update regulations intended to reduce power plant emissions of ozone-forming nitrogen oxides that waft across state lines.

In a statement, Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles said the state would continue to press its concerns. “We submitted a comprehensive, science-based petition that made the case for requiring upwind states to reduce their pollution, and we testified vigorously about the importance of this action,” Grumbles said.

Maryland had already successfully sued to force EPA to act on its petition. Further litigation “absolutely” remains an option, Jay Apperson, a Grumbles spokesman, said in an email.

A spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control had no immediate comment.

EPA had proposed rejection of both states’ petitions this spring (Greenwire, June 22).