The finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will protect communities that are home to 240 million Americans from smog and soot pollution, the agency said in a release Wednesday.
"No community should have to bear the burden of another community's polluters, or be powerless to prevent air pollution that leads to asthma, heart attacks and other harmful illnesses," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said.
The rule will improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) that travel across state lines, carried long distances across the country by wind and weather, the EPA said.
By 2014, the new limits and other state and EPA actions will reduce SO2 emissions by 73 percent from 2005 levels and NOx emissions will drop by 54 percent, the agency said.
The regulations will help states that are struggling to protect air quality from pollution emitted outside their borders, it said.