ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG ANNOUNCES COURT VICTORY TO COMPEL EPA TO REGULATE INTERSTATE SMOG POLLUTION
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has sided with six states including Connecticut and the City of New York in rejecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's effort to undermine interstate smog pollution regulation. Click here for the decision.
"This is a major victory for downwind states like Connecticut who rely on strong interstate regulation to protect our air quality. We sit at the end of the tailpipe of the nation's exhaust fumes, and without EPA action we are at the mercy of our country's heaviest polluters. Hopefully the EPA will now finally comply with the Clean Air Act and compel action to protect public health," said Attorney General Tong.
In January, a multistate coalition filed a lawsuit that challenged the EPA's 2018 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule “Close-Out” for failing to require any further control of smog pollution in states upwind of Connecticut – even though smog’s serious, on-going health threat in Connecticut is largely due to the interstate transport of ozone pollution.
The D.C. Circuit Court Tuesday rejected the EPA's reasoning, vacating the rule and remanding it back to the agency.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, more than 90 percent of ozone levels in southwest Connecticut and more than 80 percent of ozone levels in some remaining parts of the state result from pollution that originates in areas located out of Connecticut’s jurisdiction and control. Readings at Connecticut air monitoring stations consistently show that that air entering Connecticut already exceeds ozone standards on days when quality here fails to meet federal standards, subjecting several million Connecticut residents to unhealthy levels of air pollution.
Connecticut is constantly challenged to meet air quality standards. Despite all of our efforts to minimize pollution within our borders, out of state pollution still significantly contributes to the poor quality of our air. Connecticut must rely on other states to develop and implement plans to reduce air pollution, and upon EPA to act as a backstop when they fail to do so, as EPA is required to do under the Clean Air Act. EPA has failed in its responsibility with this CSAPR Close-Out decision.
The lawsuit was led by New York Attorney General Letitia James. In addition to New York and Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and the City of New York also joined the multistate lawsuit.
Assistant Attorney General Jill Lacedonia and Assistant Attorney General Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.