Officials in Connecticut and New York are praising a federal court decision, which says the Environmental Protection Agency needs to do more to control air pollution from so-called “upwind” states.
State leaders sued the EPA in January arguing that bad air blows into northeast states, causing health and ozone issues and that the agency failed to perform its mandatory duty to develop plans for states to deal with drifting pollution, which the EPA is required to do under the Clean Air Act of 1970.
A federal judge announced Tuesday the court agrees with the plaintiffs.
Citing the “Good Neighbor” provision of the federal Clean Air Act, the judge said the EPA must do more to control air pollution from Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, and West Virginia.
“Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has a duty to take action when upwind states do not meet certain air quality standards and, in this case, the EPA clearly failed to do so,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen in a statement. “We are gratified by the district court’s ruling in this matter, and we will continue to work with our partners in New York to hold EPA accountable on this and other matters where it has not met its legal obligations.”
Jepsen called the decision a wall-to-wall victory. “It’s a huge, huge win for the citizens of Connecticut and New York and a stinging rebuke for Scott Pruitt and the EPA.”
The EPA says it will detail a plan later this month designed to address the concerns of the states.
“As we have already publicly announced, we intend to propose—by the end of June—and finalize—by December—an action that will address any remaining good neighbor obligations related to the 2008 ozone standard for these and other states,” a spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement.