EPA: 11 states failed to submit sulfur dioxide pollution plans
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 11 states have failed to submit implementation plans to meet federal standards for sulfur dioxide pollution emitted from burning fossil fuels at power plants and from vehicles, The Hill reports.
- The EPA said the states have until late 2018 to reduce their sulfur dioxide pollution or submit their finalized plans; if they fail to do so, the EPA will write a federal implementation plan for them.
- The states that failed to submit plans are: Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.
At ARPE-E's annual Energy Innovation Summit, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stressed the agency's goal is to ensure the power sector slashes emissions.
While her keynote speech focused on the recent judicial stay of the Obama adminstration's Clean Power Plan, she said the stay will not move the direction of the sector away from integrating renewable resources, citing public health as a major driver in that trend.
"The momentum is certainly not coming from states anymore,” she said in regards to the shift in attitude toward cutting emissions from the power sector. “It’s coming from the business sector and it's coming from people themselves. Technology has dramatically changed. And as long as you match those drivers together, which is what we need to do to protect public health and how to align national rules... the rest just happens.”
The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA is required by the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from major sources. In 2013, the EPA designated 29 areas in 16 states as having too-high levels of sulfur dioxide pollution, and asked states to submit state implementation plans by April 2015 to reduce pollution in those areas to meet federal standards under the Clean Air Act, as established under a 2010 rule from the environmental agency. 11 states failed to do so, according to the agency.
“The EPA is committed to working with these states to expedite the development and submission of their nonattainment area [plans] and to review and act on their submissions in accordance with the requirements of the [Clean Air Act],” the agency said.
The states have until Oct. 4, 2018 to meet the sulfur dioxide standards or have the EPA write federal implementation plans if they fail to do so.
The Sierra Club urged the agency to take quick action, citing health concerns as an impetus to act.
“There is no time to delay--EPA should move now, and not wait two further years and allow more of our loved ones to end up in the emergency room," said Mary Anne Hitt, the director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign in a statement.
The Sierra Club accused the states of "stonewalling and making excuses when it comes to protecting the health of our communities."
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