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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping up the fight against air Pollution with the recent finalization of its good-neighbor rule. This initiative aims to significantly reduce harmful smog and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities, benefiting the environment and our health.

The good-neighbor rule requires 23 states currently not meeting air quality requirements to comply with the new regulations. These states must now limit the air Pollution from smog and ground-level ozone that drifts across state lines. As EPA administrator Michael Regan explains, “This is about fairness; some states have done all they can do to control ozone Pollution and their counterparts that are upwind are being asked to do the same.”

According to the EPA, the new rule will reduce approximately 70,000 tons of nitrogen oxide Pollution during peak ozone months (typically from March to November) by 2026. By 2027, the Pollution levels will be half of what they were in 2021. The agency will also establish enforceable nitrogen oxide emissions rules for both existing and new sources of emissions in heavy industry, starting in the 2026 ozone season.

To comply with the good-neighbor rule, power plants, and heavy industries will need to invest in specialized Pollution control equipment and operate it continuously throughout the peak ozone season, which varies from state to state. This rule is part of a broader series of EPA regulations to reduce Pollution and toxic waste from coal-fired power plants. The EPA is also expected to release a rule soon that will target planet-warming carbon Pollution from coal and natural gas-fired power plants.

Despite concerns from some politicians, such as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who worry about the potential high costs of compliance and the impact on power plant retirement, the EPA has emphasized that the good-neighbor rule considers reliability concerns. Regan reassures that the rule “has some built-in features that we believe allow us to achieve our public health goals, but also doesn’t jeopardize reliability.”

With the EPA’s good-neighbor rule in place, we can all breathe a little easier knowing that steps are being taken to reduce air Pollution and protect our environment. However, the fight for cleaner air and a healthier planet doesn’t stop here. We, as individuals, can also play a part in promoting sustainability by reducing our energy consumption, supporting clean energy alternatives, and spreading awareness about the importance of environmental protection.

As we wrap up, we encourage you to take action for a cleaner, greener future. Whether it’s making small changes in your daily routine or advocating for stronger environmental policies, every bit counts. Together, let’s work towards a world where we can all breathe fresh air and enjoy a healthy environment.

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