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Eastern states sue EPA over upwind pollution from Indiana, other states

December 27, 2017

The attorneys general in eight Eastern Seaboard states are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over air pollution that blows in from upwind states, including Indiana.

New York Democrat Eric Schneiderman, the leading attorney general in the lawsuit, said it was filed Tuesday in a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. It’s meant to force President Donald Trump's administration to take action to ensure the upwind states control pollution.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont are also part of the lawsuit.

The suit stems from a petition some of those states filed in 2013 under the Clean Air Act to get the agency to add nine upwind states to a group that must work together to reduce smog pollution.

The suit contends those states—Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia—contribute to violations of federal smog standards in the Ozone Transport Region, which currently encompasses the northeastern part of the country.

On Oct. 27, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the northeastern states’ petition.

Within the Ozone Transport Region, states must develop and implement plans to control pollutants that contribute to smog. But in their lawsuit, the states maintain that they are not able to meet the requirements because of pollution that blows in from the Midwest and south, which do not face such stringent rules.

“Millions of New Yorkers are breathing unhealthy air as smog pollution continues to pour in from other states,” Schneiderman said in a prepared statement.  “The federal government has a fundamental responsibility to act. Yet the Trump EPA has abandoned its responsibilities—repeatedly failing to act to control smog pollution that jeopardizes New Yorkers’ health.”

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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