Delaware is taking action to reduce detrimental impacts of poor air quality coming into the state from upwind sources.

Delaware is taking action to reduce detrimental impacts of poor air quality coming into the state from upwind sources, with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control seeking to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency find that the Homer City, Pennsylvania, Generating Station is emitting these air pollutants in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

As with CAA 126(b) petitions filed last summer by DNREC against the Brunner Island power plant in York County, Pennsylvania, and the Harrison Power Station near Hayward, West Virginia, the department argues that Delaware’s air quality is often adversely affected by unhealthy ozone created from pollutants emitted in upwind states. DNREC contends that air pollution generated causes asthma, respiratory disease and other public health problems for Delawareans and also causes the state’s non-compliance with federal air quality standards and will continue to cause these problems so long as sources such as the power plants petitioned against by DNREC continue emitting pollutants, particularly nitrogen oxide, without consistent use of modern anti-pollution controls.

In its petitions, DNREC has noted that more than 94 percent of the ozone levels in Delaware are created by the transport of air pollutants from upwind states.

As in the aftermath of each CAA 126(b) petition filed, DNREC Secretary David Small said that Delaware continues to assess the impact of other generating stations and power plants in the upwind states. The petition points out that the facilities cited for upwind air pollution manage to skirt EPA jurisdiction because some of the states do not have regulatory requirements for the power plants’ installing highly-effective nitrogen oxide emissions controls, while still other upwind states do not require the facilities to consistently operate existing nitrogen oxide controls at high levels of efficiency. In this case, states allow power plants to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements using long-term averaging of emissions that do not address the impact of transported pollution on the short term ozone standard.

Section 126(b) of the Clean Air Act requires that within 60 days after the EPA’s receipt of any petition and after a public hearing, the EPA administrator will make such a finding as requested, requiring the Homer City Generating Station to limit short term nitrogen oxide emissions to levels that are protective of the 8-hour ozone NAAQS in downwind areas, such as Delaware, or will deny the petition.