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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 4/23/98
98/ 49
CONTACT: Amy Collings or Elaine Makatura
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

GOVERNOR WHITMAN URGES PRESIDENT CLINTON TO UPHOLD EPA CLEAN AIR PROPOSAL

Governor Christie Whitman and governors from throughout the northeastern United States today urged the Clinton Administration to follow through on its plans to reduce air pollution in the eastern United States.

In a letter to President Clinton, the governors said many northeastern states will be unable to achieve public health standards for ambient air quality if midwestern and southern states do not reduce emissions as called for in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal announced last September.

"EPA has proposed a very flexible plan that enables states to achieve the reductions in a least cost manner. It includes ample time for other states to employ the pollution control technologies that have been standard in New Jersey for years. Pollution from downwind states is hampering our efforts to clean our air," said Governor Whitman, who has played a leadership role in addressing regional air pollution problems.

The 37 state Ozone Transport Assessment Group used sophisticated computer modeling to demonstrate that nitrogen oxides (Nox) emitted from the towering stacks of coal power plants travel hundreds of miles on prevailing winds. The problem is most acute in the summer when nitrogen oxides from upwind states trigger the formation of unhealthful levels of ground level ozone, or smog, in downwind states, including New Jersey.

"We have worked hard with neighboring and distant states to reach a near consensus on this issue," said New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn. "Most states are committed to change but ultimately only the federal government has the authority to solve this very serious problem."

Recognizing emissions from New Jersey can elevate smog levels in New Jersey as well as in downwind states, the state Department of Environmental Protection proposed rules last year to further reduce Nox emissions from the state's power plants. When this rule is finalized next month and subsequently implemented, New Jersey will have fulfilled its commitment to meet EPA's target.

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