EPA Proposes to Grant a NJ Clean Air Act Petition
Updated: Aug 29
At the end of March, the EPA announced its proposal to grant a petition submitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in September of 2010. The petition requested that limits be placed on the sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant that are adversely impacting air quality in New Jersey. The plant involved is the Portland Generating Station located in Northampton County, PA. If granted, the petition would require the plant to reduce SO2 emissions by 81 percent over a three-year period.
The state of New Jersey is able to submit this petition due to a section of the Clean Air Act which states that when a facility impacts air quality in another state, the affected state can petition EPA and request that the facility be required to reduce its impact. In order to back up this petition, New Jersey performed several air quality monitoring analyses evaluating SO2 levels. The results showed that SO2 levels in the air are exceeding the 1-hour national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) and also that the Portland Generating Station is the main source of these emissions.
The EPA conducted similar analyses that produced the same results. The chance that the high ambient SO2 levels could be due to a mix of sources from various locations was excluded. The SO2 levels are elevated in four New Jersey counties, which can lead to asthma aggravation and other respiratory difficulties.
The EPA held a public hearing on April 27th to allow stakeholders to submit written or oral comments on the proposal. The comment period was recently extended to June 13th, 2011.
To find more information on the petition and the comment period, click here.
To read the EPA release, click here.