January 17, 2018

CT, NY: EPA is failing to control smog from other states

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Attorney General George Jepsen.

Connecticut and New York are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its administrator, Scott Pruitt, over the agency's failure to control ozone pollution from other states that negatively affects these two states' air quality.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the states allege that EPA failed to perform its mandatory duty to develop federal plans that fully address requirements for upwind states, Attorney General George Jepsen said.

Those requirements can be found under the Good Neighbor Provision of the federal Clean Air Act for the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), he said.

The lawsuit is separate from one Connecticut and New York joined in late December with six other states over EPA's denial of a petition to add nine states to the Ozone Transport Region.

The Clean Air Act requires that states be "good neighbors" by refraining from emitting air pollution in amounts that cause other states to fail to meet air quality standards. EPA determined in 2015 that Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia had failed to submit adequate plans to meet this requirement with respect to ozone. The EPA was required by August 12, 2017, to issue federal plans to bring these states into full compliance with the Clean Air Act, but by its own admission, has failed to do so, Jepsen said.

Ozone, commonly referred to at ground level as smog, is a colorless, odorless gas that forms when other atmospheric pollutants – like nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds – react in the presence of sunlight. Ozone contributes to negative health effects.

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