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EPA Approves Louisiana Regional Haze Plan

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Dec. 15, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving the state of Louisiana’s clean-air plan for regional haze. The plan will reduce regional haze in Louisiana and meets federal Clean Air Act requirements.

EPA determined Louisiana’s plan establishes goals to make reasonable progress toward reducing haze, a long-term strategy and technical requirements for electric-generating and non-electric-generating units to meet requirements of the federal Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule. This rule requires states to make progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions in some of the nation’s most treasured wilderness areas. In Louisiana, this includes the Breton National Wildlife Refuge off the state’s eastern coast.

States must submit plans for achieving these progress goals by reducing harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. Louisiana’s plan includes reduction of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen  and particulate matter using best-available retrofit technology (BART) at six electric-generating units and three other facilities. The plan also calls for emissions limits at NRG Big Cajun II, which is not subject to BART requirements.

Haze forms when sunlight hits tiny particles of air pollution (both naturally occurring and man-made). The particles absorb some light while other light is scattered before it becomes visible. The greater number of pollutant particles, the more light is absorbed and scattered. The haze reduces clarity and color of what we can see. In addition, pollution that leads to haze can harm people’s health and the environment. Exposure to these small particles in the air has been linked to increased respiratory illness, decreased lung function, and even premature death.

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