Pa. signs Northeast's clean air petition

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One day after eight other Northeast states asked federal officials to make Midwest states match the same clean air standards they have to meet, Pennsylvania joined the group.

Gov. Tom Corbett said Tuesday that signing the petition shows his administration is "strongly committed" to air quality. The other states -- Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont -- filed a petition Monday with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions they say drift eastward due to wind and endanger the health of their residents.

"Signing this petition reflects that commitment, and our hope is that the EPA will level the playing field by ensuring other states are being good neighbors by abiding to the same standards we have in Pennsylvania," Mr. Corbett said in a news release.

The petition asked the agency to hold Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to the same air quality standards as Northeast states.

Pennsylvania is part of a group of 12 Northeast states that have to meet the most stringent federal air-quality standards. For the first time, the petition is asking the federal government to hold emissions-producing states responsible for pollution problems in states that are downwind.

In the news release, Chris Abruzzo, acting secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said states in the Northeast need help controlling pollution that is generated elsewhere. "Part of the solution to this problem is to have the upwind states implement equally stringent air quality controls," he said.

Nine of the 12 states in the Northwest known as the Ozone Transport Region have signed the petition. The EPA has 18 months to act on the petition.

Ed Blazina: or 412-263-1470. First Published December 10, 2013 2:01 PM

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