Two views on "out-of-state" air pollution (various)

There has been plenty of previous coverage of this issue, with endless complaints that the EPA needs to step up to the plate and go after upwind states whose emissions are coming across the Delaware line and fouling this state’s atmosphere. See, e.g., I’m fighting Trump on environment, Sen. Tom Carper, 4/22/18.

1. EPA should help stop out-of-state air pollution, Deborah Brown (American Lung Association). This piece principally complains about ozone as opposed to soot, etc. It references a provision of the Clean Air Act that was supposedly intended to require state cooperation, cites substantial DE reductions in the “emissions that create ozone” and claims that over 90% of “Delaware’s unhealthy levels of ozone” originate out of state. The EPA is blamed for proposing to deny “Delaware’s petitions to require power plants in upwind states to reduce their emissions,” even though – supposedly – said power plants could simply “turn on” pollution abatement equipment that they already have installed. Certain groups are particularly sensitive to ozone – children, people with asthma, seniors, outdoor workers, poor people, etc. Good show by Sen. Carper et al. in pushing the EPA on this issue, but so far the EPA is proposing to weaken (rather than strengthen) pollution protections, e.g., by repealing the Clean Power Plan, allowing a huge increase in super-polluting glider trucks on the road, and “censoring the science it uses in its decision-making.” Please people, “save our lungs.”

2. Politicians cry wolf on air pollution from out-of-state, David Stevenson, Caesar Rodney Institute. – DNREC petitioned the EPA in early 2016 to force four upwind coal power plants (three in PA, one in WV) to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions, which act as a catalyst for the creation of ground-level ozone. The deadline for public comments is tomorrow.

The EPA has been working with the two states in question to reduce emissions, with impressive results to date. It has also concluded based on a science-based study that “Delaware’s air quality will meet national standards shortly, and that pollution control equipment is being used consistently.” The DE petition was using out-of-date data and computer modeling providing by the Sierra Club. And “politicians in Delaware have made wild claims” that 90% of the emissions come from out of state, which is “patently false.” I’ve filed a FOIA request with DNREC concerning this claim, but so far the agency hasn’t provided the requested information. “We need to stop crying wolf, and acknowledge the incredible improvements that have been made.”

The environmentalists never seem to recognize the law of diminishing returns, e.g., each successive tightening of emission limits delivers less benefit at higher cost. Also, it should be noted that Delaware uses a lot of electricity that is generated out of state, e.g., by the coal power plants in question.
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