EPA’s expanded smog control plan draws support

By Sean Reilly | 03/04/2024 04:13 PM EST

Despite legal woes that could freeze the “good neighbor” rule, the agency has proposed broadening it to include polluting industries in another five states.

Emissions rise from smokestacks.

Emissions rise from smokestacks. EPA has proposed broadening its "good neighbor" smog control plan. Charlie Riedel/AP

EPA’s plan for expanding the geographic reach of its latest “good neighbor” smog control framework drew a warm response at a public hearing, even as the Supreme Court weighs legal challenges that could freeze the entire effort and other lawsuits remain undecided.

In all, some 20 speakers by early Monday afternoon had backed the framework’s proposed broadening to include polluting industries in another five states on top of the 23 already covered.

“We talk about the golden rule, or taking care of one’s neighbors, which is what this rule is about,” said Joan Brown, a Franciscan sister who is executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, which works with religious faith communities on energy efficiency and other issues.


Besides helping to trigger and worsen asthma attacks, ozone exposure is tied to higher odds of premature birth and lower birth weights in babies, Dr. Jared Radbel, a pulmonologist and professor at Rutgers University’s medical school, told EPA employees running the hearing. Ozone is the main ingredient in smog.