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January 20, 2020

Tong continues legal onslaught against EPA over air pollution

State Attorney General William Tong continues to press his case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, arguing it has failed to enforce its own rules regarding air pollution that blows into Connecticut from other states.
 
Connecticut and the state of New York have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the EPA has failed to meet a court-ordered Dec. 6, 2018, deadline to put plans in place to stem pollution emissions from five upwind states -- Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia --  that blow pollution into Connecticut and New York.
 
That pollution creates unhealthy ground-level ozone known as “smog.”
 
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has said that more than 90 percent of ozone levels in southwest Connecticut and more than 80 percent of ozone levels in some other parts of the state result from pollution originating outside of Connecticut.
 
“Connecticut sits at the end of our nation's tailpipe, inhaling smog from our country's heaviest polluters,” Tong said in a statement. “So long as the EPA refuses to do its job to control this cross-state air pollution, we will be in court every step of the way to protect Connecticut air quality and public health.”
 
Tong and his predecessor George Jepsen have filed numerous lawsuits against the Trump administration, seeking to enforce clean air and water laws, as well as stricter power plant requirements.

The latest suit seeks to build on a legal victory won in October, when the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit struck down an EPA rule that effectively absolved upwind states of making further air quality improvements, Courthouse News Service reported.

Tong is seeking enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s so-called “good neighbor” provision, which requires the EPA to adopt plans to reduce interstate smog pollution when the upwind states are not taking sufficient action.

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