Cross-State Pollution

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POSTED: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 11:09am

Supreme Court hears cases on air pollution that crosses state borders. Brian Mooar reports.

(NBC News) Today in Washington, a pollution power play that's pitting eight states against nine others.

The governors of Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont are complaining about the pollution coming from their upwind neighbors.

The states claim their neighbors have been slow to adopt technology that could dramatically cut pollution.

They're asking the Environmental Protection Agency to step in.

"For years Delaware and a number of other states on the East Coast have been at the end of a tail pipe of pollution coming from other states to the west," said Delaware Governor Jack Markell.

The northeastern states have petitioned the EPA to force Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to cut down on ozone pollution.

The petition comes as the Supreme Court considers an EPA rule that would've tightened pollution standards for twenty-eight of the so-called upwind states.

"If we turned off every source of pollution within our state now we would still oftentimes not be in compliance with standards because of what's coming to us from outside of Delaware," said Governor Markell.

"It's been very convenient for the northeastern states to blame all of their ozone problems on the upwind states," said former EPA Assistant Administrator Jeff Holmstead.

The midwestern and southern states say it's more complicated than coal plants.

"It is the problem caused by the collection of many, many people, and many vehicles," Holmstead said.

The states named in the petition point out that their power plants help provide a lot of energy to the northeast.

No word on when the petition will be considered.

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