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Air Quality

Published on December 28th, 2017 | by James Ayre


8 Northeastern States Suing US EPA Over Midwest Air Pollution

December 28th, 2017 by  

Air pollution originating in the US Midwest region is being blown into the Northeast region, leading to harmful effects on the region’s population, according to a lawsuit filed against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 8 Northeastern states on Friday.

The lawsuit seeks to impose stricter controls on emissions in the Midwestern states in question, via the EPA, reportedly. In other words, the lawsuit challenges the earlier choice by the Trump Administration to allow a number of states to avoid tighter emissions controls.

“Millions of New Yorkers are breathing unhealthy air as smog pollution continues to pour in from other states,” stated New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the head of coalition involved in the lawsuit.

Unsurprisingly, an EPA spokesperson declined to comment on the matter when queried by Reuters. Here’s more from that coverage: “The coalition urged the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to overturn the EPA’s decision not to add the 9 upwind states to the congressionally created ‘Ozone Transport Region,’ which requires stricter pollution controls.

“In a statement, Schneiderman said the EPA was empowered to add states to the ‘Ozone Transport Region’ if the EPA has reason to believe that their air pollution significantly causes states already in the region to exceed federal pollution standards.

“The lawsuit was filed by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which in late 2013 originally asked to have 9 upwind states added to the ‘Ozone Transport Region.’ That case resulted in a consent decree that forced the EPA to decide by the end of October 2017 whether to add Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to the region.”

As one would guess, the head of the US EPA, Scott Pruitt, declined to do so.

Supporting the argument being used, Scheiderman noted that research from the US EPA itself found that air pollution from states upwind of New York “substantially” added to local levels of smog.

The general line of argument used by the Midwestern states in question to date has been that the Northeast’s air pollution problems are its own. Northeastern states have long argued, though, that coal-fired power plant (and other) emissions from the Midwest ultimately are brought by prevailing air currents to their region.

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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