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Menendez Hails Federal Action to Stop Pennsylvania Coal Plant from Polluting New Jersey Air

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Location: Washington, DC

Federal environmental officials today proposed to grant a New Jersey petition to limit the dumping of pollution from a Pennsylvania plant -- a major win for New Jersey residents and environment, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said today. The proposed rule means that, if finalized, the Pennsylvania plant will have to limit air pollution by more than 80 percent.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed to grant a decision submitted by the state of New Jersey to limit sulfur dioxide emissions from the Portland Generating Station in Pennsylvania. The proposal comes as Republicans attempt to gut the Clean Air Act and Federal environmental protection efforts.

To date, every county in New Jersey is non-compliant with the Clean Air Act because of dirty, old, out-of-state coal plants like the aging Portland Generation Station. Located just across the Delaware River, this plant emitted 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide in 2009 -- almost three times the amount of all seven of New Jersey's coal plants combined.

The proposed rule would require the Portland Generating Station to reduce its SO2 emissions by 81 percent over a three-year period. Exposure to pollutants from the plant cause and exacerbate a whole host of respiratory illnesses, from asthma to heart disease.

Under the Clean Air Act, 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 a September 2010 petition, New Jersey asked EPA to find that the Portland power plant is impacting the state's air quality and to require the facility to reduce its SO2 emissions.

Sen. Menendez said, "New Jersey residents can breathe a little easier today. If not for the Clean Air Act, New Jersey would have no recourse for stopping the sickening pollution this plant spews into New Jersey's air. At a time when the Clean Air Act is under attack by Republicans, this shows that any attack on the Clean Air Act is an attack on New Jersey. We simply cannot gut the one piece of federal legislation that protects the air we breathe."


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