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EPA sets "Good Neighbor" rule to cut down on emissions that are crossing state lines

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s neighbors – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, are among the 23 states now required to create and submit plans for emissions reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The “Good Neighbor” rule recently set by the EPA is meant to protect downwind states from smog pollution coming from other states.

Senator Tom Carper - chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - says more than 90% of Delaware’s pollution comes from the state’s neighbors.

“So that we no longer have to endure the bad wind, the pollution, that other states are putting up," Carper says. "Everybody has to clean up their act, you gotta treat your neighboring states the way you would want to be treated.”

These new regulations build off of a 2015 rule set by the EPA that blocks states from adding to ozone pollution in other localities.

“And while that original rule directed power plants to clean up their emissions, this revised rule, an updated rule, enforces similar controls not just on power plants, but on mills, on factories, and other industrial facilities which emit pollution and which we end up breathing.” Carper says.

The 23 upwind states identified as significant smog contributors are required to submit plans ensuring that coal-fired power plants and other industrial sites don't add significantly to air pollution in other states.

The EPA says the new rule will save thousands of lives and result in cleaner air and better health for millions of people living in downwind communities. It takes effect in May.

The American Lung Association graded New Castle County with an “F” for air quality for more than two decades. Kent County is graded “B” and Sussex is graded “C.”

And it says the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden metropolitan area, that includes New Castle and Kent Counties in Delaware, is the nation’s 18th most polluted metro area for year-round average levels of fine particle pollution

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.