EPA says Billings, Montana now meeting emissions standards

billings montana elp

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials are reversing a 2013 finding that Montana's largest city was out of compliance with air pollution standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the closure of the Corette coal-fired power plant has alleviated the sulfur dioxide pollution problem in Billings.

Gov. Steve Bullock said in a statement Tuesday that the EPA's move would ease restrictions on industries in Billings and allow the city's economy to continue growing.

Most sulfur dioxide comes from burning fossil fuels. High levels can impair breathing and cause other health problems. Children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems are most susceptible.

The Corette plant for decades emitted thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide annually. It shut down in March 2015 in part because of the high cost of installing pollution control equipment.

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