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How the U.S. Deals with Foreign Pollution

May 9, 2013

Japan –

Foreign PollutionSorry to hear that China’s pollution is apparently killing your trees (see New York Times article).

Here is how we handle this problem in our country:

The States offset foreign pollution when it blows into our country by adding more controls on U.S. citizens and business to offset the effects of this foreign pollution.  The NAAQS must be met—and States must meet the NAAQS via the SIP process (42 U.S.C. § 7407(a) and foreign pollution study).  As the D.C. Circuit put it, “Every State knows precisely what numerical goal its SIP must achieve.  If a State misses that clear numerical target, it has only itself to blame.” (D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, CSAPR Ruling).

The public still has not figured out that they are not only be required to reduce their own pollution—but they are being required to reduce other countries pollution as it blows into the United States.  Eventually someone will be able to successfully convey this truth to them—and the public can then decide for themselves if this is the best course of action for addressing the health and economic impacts of foreign pollution on our country.

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

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