Gov. Malloy to EPA: Decision to Delay Implementation of Ozone Standards Comes at the Expense of Connecticut Residents
Says Delay Hurts the State Economy and Puts People’s Health at Risk
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy is arguing that a recent decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a one-year extension on the implementation of federal air quality standards puts Connecticut at an economic disadvantage against states that ignore critical air quality issues, while also prolonging the risk of illness for thousands of residents in the state.
Responding to a decision earlier this month by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to delay the designation phase of the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the Governor says that the federal agency’s reasoning is flawed, and that it has all the information and authority it needs to act now. He is urging Administrator Pruitt to reconsider his decision.
“This is not fair to the people of Connecticut and it puts the health of our population at severe risk,” Governor Malloy wrote in a letter to the Administrator. “We urge you to move faster – not slower – to implement the 2015 ozone standard so that concentrations of pollutions in our air will be less of a threat to our residents.”
In his letter, Governor Malloy explained that more than 90% of pollution found within Connecticut’s borders actually comes from western, upwind states that do not take the issue of air pollution seriously and blow their emissions toward the northeast. He points out that even if every power plant and factory within the boundaries of Connecticut ceased operations, the state’s air would still exceed the federal ozone standards because of air pollution created in other states and blown into Connecticut.
The Governor argues that in addition to the health issues that air pollution causes, delaying the standards will put Connecticut businesses at an economic disadvantage against states that ignore critical air quality issues.
“For the sake of public health and economic fairness, I urge you to reconsider the unnecessary one-year extension and to promulgate initial attainment and nonattainment designations under the 2015 Ozone NAAQS,” Governor Malloy wrote.
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said, “This decision is irresponsible – it’s a national policy failure that unequivocally risks the health of citizens who are downwind of polluting states. In Connecticut, this delay means more bad air quality days; more days when seniors, children, and people with respiratory problems struggle to breathe. That is unacceptable. As we modernize energy, transportation, and infrastructure, states must be held to higher pollution emission standards, not lower ones.”
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee said, “In Connecticut, we have a real sense of urgency about the need for EPA to move forward – along the previously planned timeframe – to fully implement requirements of the 2015 ozone standard. Delay is unconscionable, because it means the health and well-being of our residents will remain in jeopardy longer than necessary from pollution carried here from other states by prevailing winds.”