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Its A Small World After All: Foreign Pollution Impacts on the U.S.

May 4, 2012

Scientists are predicting that pollution changes outside the United States may have as much of an impact on our health and economy as pollution changes made inside the United States:

  •  “For North America ground-level O3 concentrations, the RAIR [Relative Annual Intercontinental Response] is estimated to increase to around 50% under both the high and low emissions scenarios, suggesting that, in the future, changes in emissions of O3 [ozone] precursors outside the region may be as important as changes within the region.” –2010 United Nation’s Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution Report (see http://www.htap.org/activities/2010_Final_Report.htm)

Our 40-year old air quality management system is not designed to meet this future.  Our system assumes that pollution will continue to be generally a local problem and that States should continue to be ultimately responsible for addressing this foreign pollution via the SIP process. (see 42 U.S.C. § 7407(a))

The world is changing.  We must change with it.  Time to transform the SIP process.  We can make it happen.

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