"Nitrate found in precipitation occurring in rural areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States is primarily caused by emissions from stationary sources located hundreds of miles away, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. "Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow."
Gee, coal already has a pretty dicey rep, even in Kansas. Guess this study shows that goes up will come down...somewhere. The reason power plants and other large fossil fuel burners send their emissons so far is because they spew them further up into the air to begin with. Cars produce a lot of pollutants as well but it's nearer the surface and not as likely to disperse great distances. So you may breath your own car fumes but that pollution from a coal plant can be brought to you across many miles regardless of where you live.
More from What Goes Up Must Come Down Department: I've blogged about Chinese air pollution in the form of particulates making it to California. Let it never be said we Americans don't give as good as we get. Today the San Diego fires have not only forced a quarter million from their American homes, the ashes have drifted across the Mexican border shutting down normal life there as well. That's NOAA's sat photo of the smoke plumes from Southern California burning. Actually most of the fall-out is blowing out to sea.