December 10, 2013

LePage does not join petition for clean air

By North Cairn ncairn@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

“I’m sure the EPA is thinking very hard about what they’re going to do,” he said. “It’s something that EPA is having to confront more and more.“

Three states in the Northeast that did not sign onto the petition – Maine, Pennsylvania and New Jersey – all have Republican governors, Fabish noted.

“Political parties are playing a role in this,” he said.

The three are also among the handful of states that have a history of dealing with the EPA on interstate pollution controversies. New Jersey and Pennsylvania faced off in a dispute over sulfur dioxide pollution at a power plant in Portland in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. The EPA ordered the plant to reduce its sulfur dioxide emissions by 81 percent and stop burning coal by June 1, 2014, to resolve the cross-border pollution.

The governors’ petition seeks what it contends are long overdue commitments from the upwind states to protect the health of people living downwind, across state borders. The EPA must approve or deny the petition within 18 months.

“Maine bears much of the brunt of dirty coal-fired plants,” said Glen Brand, director of the Maine chapter of the Sierra Club, which has assisted the citizens advocacy group in Eliot with its petition to the EPA. “This is a long-standing problem with the coal-fired power plants in the U.S. – at least 25 years.“

Brand said the state has a high incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Maine ranks seventh in the U.S. in asthma, and is also among the top 20 states in the U.S. for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

ncairn@pressherald.com

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