WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency is clamping down on pollution from power plants in 27 states that contributes to unhealthy air downwind.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced on Thursday a plan to clean up smog, soot and acid rain in downwind states -- where they combine with locally produced pollution, making it impossible for those states to meet air quality standards on their own.
The rule differs from one proposed in July. Power plants in the District of Columbia and five states -- Delaware, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and Massachusetts -- will no longer have to control for two pollutants -- sulfur dioxide, responsible for acid rain, and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog and soot.
Texas, by contrast, will have to reduce more pollution than the initial proposal.
The regulation replaces a 2005 Bush administration proposal that was rejected by a federal court.
Jackson, in a call with reporters Thursday, said the regulation would make sure no community has to bear the burden of another community's polluters. She said just because pollution drifts far from a power plant, "doesn't mean pollution is no longer that plant's responsibility."
"Pollution that crosses state lines places a greater burden on (downwind) states and makes them responsible for cleaning up someone else's mess," she said.
The rule, which will start going into effect next year, will cost power companies $800 million annually in 2014. That's in addition to the $1.6 billion spent per year to comply with the Bush rule that was still in effect until the government drafted a new one. The agency said that cost would be far outweighed by the public health benefits.