February 1, 2019

AG Tong joins N.Y. in EPA smog challenge

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo

Picking up where his predecessor George Jepsen left off, Connecticut's new Attorney General William Tong is taking the federal government to court over cross-state air pollution.

On Thursday, Tong announced that Connecticut had joined a six-state federal lawsuit, led by New York, challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision not to place any further controls on smog pollution generated in upwind states that ultimately travels by air into the Northeast.

The lawsuit filed this week challenges the EPA's recent decision not to take further action on controlling pollution from upwind states. The plaintiffs' petition for review is based on their allegation that the EPA decision is "unlawful, arbitrary and capricious and therefore must be vacated."

The EPA's decision, published Dec. 21, came despite a federal judge's ruling last summer ordering the agency to develop mitigation plans for cross-state air pollution.

In it, the EPA claimed a 2016 update to its Cross State Air Pollution Rule will bring states into compliance once it's implemented.

The six states suing over the decision, a group that also includes Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York City, disagree.

"Connecticut sits at the end of the tailpipe of the nation's exhaust fumes, with severe consequences for public health," Tong said in a statement on Thursday. "States like Connecticut who are downwind of some of our country's heaviest polluters need the protection of strong interstate ozone pollution regulation. The Trump EPA's failure to comply with the Clean Air Act violates federal law and endangers the health of Connecticut families."

Connecticut's legal battle with the EPA over cross-state air pollution regulation dates back years.

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