CONNECTICUT JOINS MULTI-STATE EFFORT
TO COMPEL EPA TO ISSUE NEW AIR QUALITY STANDARDS
(HARTFORD) – Connecticut and 11 other states notified the federal Environmental Protection Agency today of their intent to sue after 60 days over the agency’s failure to issue revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, or soot, as required by the Clean Air Act.
Connecticut was among the 10 states that also filed a mandamus petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. It asks the court to order the EPA to issue a new standard – as required in the court’s decision in a successful 2009 challenge to the current standard for soot.
That lawsuit alleged that the current standard for fine particulates, first set in 1997 and affirmed in 2006, failed to prevent harm to vulnerable and at-risk populations, such as children and the elderly. EPA estimated that more than 10,000 deaths could result each year from exposure to fine particles permitted under the current standards. Exposure to fine particulates can cause serious breathing problems and heart disease.
“Connecticut citizens cannot afford to wait any longer for EPA to do what it is required to do by law and by court order,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “Unhealthy levels of air pollution are threatening people’s lives.”
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set primary and secondary standards for any air pollutant that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. It also requires those standards to be reviewed every five years and revised and updated as recommended by an independent committee.
The notice of intent to sue was triggered by EPA’s failure meet the timetable for review set by law. The mandamus petition was prompted by EPA’s failure to comply with the appellate court’s 2009 order to reconsider its primary annual standard for fine particulate matter.
The noticeand the mandamus petition were filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on behalf of the states. Other states participating in the notice to sue include: the California Air Resources Board, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Susan E. Kinsman
Facebook: Attorney General George Jepsen