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GLIN==> U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds ruling for tougher standards on ozone



Posted on behalf of Natalie Shepherd <Shepherd.Natalie@dep.state.pa.us>

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June 27, 2000

Tom Ridge, Governor

James M. Seif, Secretary
Department of Environmental Protection


PENNSYLVANIANS CAN BREATHE EASIER THANKS TO DECISION

On behalf of Gov. Tom Ridge, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Secretary James M. Seif Monday said Pennsylvanians can breathe easier thanks
to a decision on air pollution from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Washington, D.C. announced on June 23.

The full court upheld a ruling issued March 3 by a three-judge panel of the
court. Yesterday's ruling confirms that states and utilities in the Midwest
and South must clean their air by requiring tougher standards on NOx
emissions. "The ruling helps put in place clean-air rules that Gov. Ridge
asked for in May 1995," Seif said. "These rules will protect Pennsylvanians
and people in 18 other states from the health effects of ozone. Now, we all
can breathe easier."

"The court, in rejecting arguments from Midwestern states and utilities,
confirmed what we've been saying about ozone pollution for years:
Pennsylvania can't meet federal standards because of pollution transported
here from the Midwest. "The court's decision puts 18 states on an equal
footing. Now, places like Pittsburgh, Lancaster and Philadelphia have a
better chance at meeting the federal standards for ozone on a regular
basis."

The court's ruling yesteday requires states to submit their plans, called a
State Implementation Plan (SIP), on how they will reduce emissions by the
end of October. Pennsylvania currently is working on its plan, and the final
requirements are tentatively scheduled to go before the Environmental
Quality Board on July 18.

The Commonwealth's rules could be finalized by September and submitted to
EPA before the deadline.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new regulations on
Oct. 28, 1998, that required strict reductions in emissions of nitrogen
oxide from power plants. Midwestern states and utilities appealed that rule
in court. Pennsylvania has support the EPA in its court fight with those
states.

In addition, Pennsylvania was a national leader in 1997 when it filed a
petition, based on Section 126 of the Clean Air Act, asking EPA to control
air pollution coming from other states. EPA ruled in favor of that petition.

"We have been working hard to reduce our emissions and meet federal
standards, and our industry has responded," Seif said. "Pennsylvania already
has cut the amount of air pollution emitted from utilities and other
industrial sources by 61 percent from 1990 levels -- more than required by
current clean-air rules.

"It is clear that utilities and industrial sources can take effective and
efficient steps to reduce air pollution. The court has recognized that, and
now it's time for the Midwestern states and utilities to join Pennsylvania
and reduce ozone pollution.

"Just yesterday, PPL dedicated air pollution control equipment at their
Montour Power Plant that will reduce emissions by 90 percent from 1990
levels."

Ground-level ozone forms when NOx from industry and personal vehicles
"bakes" in the sunlight with other air pollution. Ozone can make it hard for
some people to breathe, particularly children and older Pennsylvanians.
For more information about ground-level ozone, visit DEP through the
Pennsylvania website at www.state.pa.us <http://www.state.pa.us> or directly
at www.ozoneaction.org <http://www.ozoneaction.org>.

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