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US EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule

Tinu Okotore, November 6, 2023

OEC Joins Effort to Reduce Interstate Air Pollution

Represented by Clean Air Task Force, the OEC joined national partners to legally intervene in litigation, Buckeye Power v. United States EPA, involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Good Neighbor Rule. The rule aims to reduce interstate ozone pollution — also referred to as smog — to improve air quality in downwind states. Essentially, it ensures that one state’s air pollution does not harm the air quality in neighboring states.

When states produce air pollution, it doesn’t just stay within their borders. The wind can carry these pollutants to other states, making it difficult for those states to meet the national air quality standards set by the EPA. The Good Neighbor Rule ensures that all states play their part in reducing air pollution — not just for their own sake but for the sake of their neighbors as well.

Here’s what you need to know about the U.S. EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule.

About the U.S. EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule

The EPA introduced the Good Neighbor Rule after determining that several states had failed to submit compliant plans that prevented their pollution from affecting downwind states. The Rule targets 23 states that were found to be significant contributors to this cross-border ozone pollution. It regulates emissions from large power plants, large industrial polluters, or in some cases, both.

To determine which states needed regulation, the EPA employed a four-step framework:

1. Identify areas struggling to meet the ozone standard.

2. Figure out which states contribute at least 1% of the ozone limit in those downwind areas.

3. Determine each state’s significant contribution considering potential emission reductions, their costs, and the benefits to air quality downwind.

4. Set requirements to ensure these harmful contributions are eliminated.

Why is the Good Neighbor Rule crucial for Ohio?

Ohio is one of the 23 states identified by the EPA as significantly contributing to the ozone problems in downwind states. This means that our industries and power plants are affecting our neighbors’ air quality.

  • Clean air is a shared responsibility. If our neighboring states fail to meet air quality standards because of our emissions, it reflects poorly on our commitment to environmental health and wellness.
  • Air pollution doesn’t discriminate. The very pollutants we send to our neighbors can also affect our air, harming our communities, ecosystems, and overall health.

By adhering to the Good Neighbor Rule, we’re not just being good neighbors — we’re ensuring a healthier future for all of Ohio.


February, 2024 – The litigation the OEC joined, in the 6th Circuit, was transferred to the D.C. Circuit and consolidated with the other Good Neighbor Plan litigation in that Court. Petitioners in other cases in that broader consolidated D.C. Circuit litigation (including a petitioner who is also in the OEC’s litigation, Ohio Valley Electric Corporation) filed emergency applications to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court heard Oral Arguments on the emergency petitions on February 20, 2024, to pause the rule from going into effect. The OEC supports the US EPA’s position before the U.S. Supreme Court, that the Good Neighbor Rule should go into effect as soon as possible.

Learn More About the U.S. EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule

Want to learn more about the U.S. EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule? Check out our partners and additional resources below.