A coal fired power plant on the Ohio River just West of Cincinnati. Robert S. Donovan

New data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that ten states are contributing to high smog levels in Connecticut.

Climate activists are calling for stronger regulations to protect the environment and Connecticut residents.

Earthjustice attorney Kathleen Riley said the air pollution in Connecticut is responsible for asthma attacks and heart and lung disease.

But, Connecticut residents are suffering because of fossil fuel emissions in ten other states: Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

“Pollution emitted in states as far as Indiana and Michigan is making its way into the air people in Connecticut breathe,” Riley said.

The “Good Neighbor Rule” has been around for decades, but a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in March 2022, would enhance regulation of the cross-state transport of fossil fuel emissions by requiring coal plants and heavy industry to reduce their pollution output.

The EPA has until March to accept reduction proposals from offending states or impose guidelines on them through Federal Implementation Acts. These plans have often been delayed and contested in court.

“This new rule will reduce the smog traveling between states and is estimated to prevent more than a million asthma attacks, and avoid almost 500,000 missed school days every year,” Riley said.

Riley warned that although the “Good Neighbor Rule” is an effective first step, more must be done to keep ozone pollution levels down. According to the EPA, they are higher than they should be in Fairfield County.

Riley said stronger EPA standards would lower the levels and keep at-risk residents healthier.

This story was originally published Feb. 9, 2023, by WSHU.