U.S. Northeast states ask EPA to crack down on Midwest pollution

WASHINGTON Mon Dec 9, 2013 9:09am EST

WASHINGTON Dec 9 (Reuters) - Eight Northeastern and mid-Atlantic governors on Monday petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require Midwestern states to curb ozone-forming pollution from their power plants, which they say travels downwind and poses health risks to their citizens.

They want the EPA to force nine "upwind" states - Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia - to regulate the emissions that cross into their borders through prevailing winds and contribute raising ozone levels to the north and east of them.

The governors said the upwind states had failed for decades to install the basic technology needed to contain emissions of organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, which cause asthma and other respiratory diseases and contribute to as much as 98 percent of the ozone air pollution problems in their own states.

The petition asks the EPA to require the nine upwind states to join them in an "Ozone Transport Region," which under the federal Clean Air Act, would require actions to limit air pollution consistent with the efforts of those "downwind" states.

Under that kind of regional pact, the Midwestern states would need to install what are known as best available control technologies to capture the emissions.

The states petitioning for the Midwestern controls are Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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