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Judge rules EPA failing to curb pollution blowing east

June 13, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A federal judge in New York has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has violated the federal Clean Air Act by failing to curb ozone air pollution that blows into Connecticut and New York from the west.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, in a decision dated Tuesday, granted the states’ request for a summary judgment against the EPA and Commissioner Scott Pruitt for violating the so-called “Good Neighbor Provision” of the act, which requires it to enforce 2008 clean-air standards with state-by state implementation plans.

The lawsuit, which was filed in January, is one of several in the past year involving mostly East Coast states seeking to have the EPA regulate out-of-state pollutants.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as many as two in three New Yorkers are breathing unhealthy levels of smog.

“The Trump administration has repeatedly flouted the law — and over and over again, we’ve taken them to court and won. We will continue to do what it takes to protect New Yorkers’ health and environment,” she said.

New York and Connecticut alleged the air quality there is being choked by smog emanating from Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

“As a downwind state, our residents have suffered for too long from other states’ lax clean air standards,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, said. “The EPA’s recent failure to hold upwind states accountable is not acceptable.”

The judge ordered the EPA to come up with an action plan by June 29 and implement those plans by Dec. 6.

“As we have already publicly announced, we intend to propose — by the end of June — and finalize — by December — an action that will address any remaining good neighbor obligations related to the 2008 ozone standard for these and other states,” Dave Deegan, an EPA spokesman, said in an email responding to the ruling.

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