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Time to Clean Up Smog Pollution in Pennsylvania

Posted on April 8, 2014

Two-Thirds of Pennsylvanians are at Risk

Over 8 million Pennsylvanians live in areas that violate federal standards for smog. Many of these same areas have the state’s highest asthma hospitalization rates.  While smog is harmful to everyone, it’s especially dangerous for children, the elderly and those already suffering from respiratory and heart disease. In Pennsylvania, communities of color suffer disproportionately more from asthma and asthma-related hospitalizations. Children in communities of color are nearly twice as likely to suffer from asthma.

Coal Plants are the Largest Source of Smog Pollution

Smog is caused when chemicals including nitrogen oxides (NOx) react in sunlight near the ground, forming ground-level ozone. Coal plants are the single largest source of smog-causing pollutants in Pennsylvania. While nearly all of the state’s largest coal plants have the technology to significantly reduce nitrogen oxides, many don’t use it regularly. This puts our air and health at risk.

Governor Wolf's Plan Will Clean Up Some Coal Plants, but Gives a One Huge Plant a Free Pass!

Many coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania are capable of emitting significantly less smog-causing pollution than they are now, simply by operating controls they already have.  Fortunately, Gov. Wolf's proposed smog rule will require them to do that for the first time.  The bad news is that the plan would not require any pollution reductions from the huge Brunner Island power plant south of Harrisburg, simply because it has lagged behind its competitors and lacks controls for smog-causing NOx pollution.  However, this plant is by far the largest source of NOx in the 12-county southeastern PA region (see graph) and a recent report analysis by Sonoma Technologies Inc. found that it contributes significantly to smog pollution both locally and as far away as Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.  We're calling on Governor Wolf to clean up Brunner Island, and hold it to the same standard as its peers, because all families deserve clean air!  Use the links below to learn more and take action.

Download Fact Sheet

Read Report on Brunner Island Smog Impacts