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The administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking a hard line on power plant pollution near his state’s border, backing an Environmental Protection Agency order for strict reductions in sulfur dioxide emissions from a GenOn-owned plant in eastern Pennsylvania.

Unlike many neighboring East Coast states, New Jersey hasn’t joined the legal fight to defend the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule or the agency’s new mercury and air toxics rule for power plants.

But with the GenOn plant, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa is ready to argue that EPA is on the right side of the law to require huge reductions and impose a three-year compliance timeline.

Running two units at the plant beyond 2015 would be illegal and unfounded, Chiesa and his deputy said in a May 7 letter to GenOn and its regional transmission authority, PJM.

The letter adds that EPA’s heightened requirements are “critical for the public health.”