The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved Arkansas clean-air plan related to transporting air pollution across state lines, known as interstate transport. EPA determined that emissions, specifically sulfur dioxide (SO2), from pollution sources in Arkansas does not contribute to nonattainment or interfere with air quality in other states.
“This is another example of EPA working with states to create positive environmental outcomes,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “Arkansas demonstrates its commitment to providing cleaner, healthier air for its residents and surrounding states.”
“We appreciate EPA’s prioritization of Arkansas’s plans to reduce air pollution across state lines,” said DEQ Director Becky Keogh. “Through collaborative efforts with EPA, DEQ’s Office of Air Quality is a leader in the nation in advancing clean-air solutions efficiently and effectively.”
Interstate transport of air pollution occurs when air pollution that is generated in one state crosses state borders, affecting air quality in another state. The Clean Air Act's Good Neighbor provision requires EPA and states to prohibit interstate transport of air pollution that affects downwind states' air quality. EPA found that the Arkansas air plan complies with these requirements. EPA’s finding approves state law as meeting federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements.
On Feb. 14, 2018, EPA approved other elements of the Arkansas air plan, but did not take action on the interstate transport portion for SO2. This action determines that the Arkansas air plan will not interfere with attaining and maintaining the SO2 standard in other states.
EPA’s standard for SO2 is designed to protect human health. The largest sources of SO2 emissions are from fossil fuel combustion at power plants and other industrial facilities. Short-term exposures to SO2 can harm the human respiratory system and make breathing difficult. People with asthma, particularly children, are sensitive to these effects of SO2. SO2 and other sulfur oxides can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form fine particles that reduce visibility in parts of the United States, including many of our treasured national parks and wilderness areas.
For more information about National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): https://www.epa.gov/naaqs.
For information about air quality in your area: https://www.airnow.gov.
For information about air quality trends: https://www.epa.gov/air-trends.