CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Eight Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states
petitioned the federal government Monday to require nine upwind states to
cut down air pollution emissions.
The petition is aimed at Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky,
Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. It
seeks a reduction in emissions carried by prevailing winds that contribute
to the formation of ozone in the downwind states.
States filing the petition are Connecticut, Delaware,
Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The petition seeks what it says are long-overdue commitments
from the upwind states to protect the health of downwind residents and to
level the playing field for businesses. “Even if the people of New Hampshire
took every car off the road, we would, at best, reduce ozone by only 3
percent on bad air days,” New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said. “And on
those bad air days, New Hampshire receives more than 95 percent of its air
pollution from upwind states.”
The petition asks the Environmental Protection Agency to
require the nine upwind states to join the petitioning states in what is
known as the Ozone Transport Region. Under the federal Clean Air Act, states
added to the region would have to take actions to reduce pollution
consistent with downwind state efforts.
The EPA is required to approve or disapprove of the petition
within 18 months.
"Delaware air quality remains overwhelmed by air pollution
from upwind states, even though we have reduced emissions within Delaware of
ozone-forming pollution by more than 70 percent since 1990,” said Delaware
Gov. Jack Markell.
Unhealthy levels of ozone can cause coughing, throat
irritation and chest pains. It can aggravate asthma and other chronic lung