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CT and NY attorneys general file new lawsuit against EPA on cross-state smog pollution

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Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and his New York counterpart Letitia James are teaming for a new lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that accuses the agency of ignoring its responsibility under the Clean Air Act to control upwind sources of cross-state smog pollution.

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Letitia James and William Tong

This complaint stems from a Jan. 31, 2019 lawsuit that involved Connecticut and New York along with four northeastern states and New York City that challenged the EPA’s 2018 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule “Close-Out” for not controlling smog pollution emissions from states upwind from the plaintiffs.

On Oct. 1, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the coalition and found the EPA at fault for rejecting the need for upwind sources to cut their emissions of smog-forming pollution.

The new lawsuit argued that the EPA ignored a previously imposed court-ordered deadline for Dec. 6, 2018, to comply with its statutory obligation for putting plans into place to stem these pollution emissions. The attorneys general added the EPA announced it has no plans to comply with this statutory obligation.

“Connecticut sits at the end of our nation’s tailpipe, inhaling smog from our country’s heaviest polluters,” Tong said. “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.”

“More than two-thirds of New Yorkers regularly breathe unhealthy air, yet the Trump administration continues to ignore the smog caused by upwind air pollution,” James said. “We will not allow the federal government to trivialize the law, and minimalize the importance of clean air for millions of New Yorkers. My office will use every legal tool available to ensure that EPA follows the law and takes significant measures to reduce pollution.”

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