July 7, 2011

Whitehouse Statement on EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) issued the following statement today regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to curb pollution from “upwind” coal-fired power plants:

“I commend the EPA for finalizing the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. For too long, virtually uncontrolled coal-fired power plants have used tall smoke stacks to export dirty air to downwind states like Rhode Island. This new rule is an important step for public health because it recognizes that it is better to stop air pollution than to send it to another community.”

Whitehouse has had long-standing concerns about the impact of uncontrolled and undercontrolled smoke stacks on the air quality of down-wind states. During his time as Rhode Island’s Attorney General, Whitehouse joined EPA’s lawsuit against American Electric Power for its illegal modification of 16 plants. He has also spoken on this issue many times in the Senate, and last year requested that the Government Accountability Office complete a report about the contribution of tall smoke stacks to east coast air pollution. The report, which was issued last month, determined that “tall stacks [those taller than 500 feet] can increase the distance these pollutants travel in the atmosphere and harm air quality and the environment in downwind communities.”

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