Schneiderman sues EPA over ozone limits implementation deferral

New York Atty. Gen. Eric T. Schneiderman (D) and 15 other states’ attorneys general sued the US Environmental Protection Agency for delaying implementation of new federal ground-level ozone emissions controls.

New York Atty. Gen. Eric T. Schneiderman (D) and 15 other states’ attorneys general sued the US Environmental Protection Agency for delaying implementation of new federal ground-level ozone emissions controls.

Their Aug. 1 filing in the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia came nearly 2 months after EPA Administrator E. Scott Pruitt notified US governors of a 1-year extension for promulgating initial air designations under the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (OGJ Online, June 7, 2017).

The suit alleges that Pruitt’s action was arbitrary and capricious. “One in three New Yorkers are breathing dangerous levels of smog pollution pouring in from other states. Yet again the Trump EPA has chosen to put polluters before the health of the American people,” Schneiderman said.

AGs from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia joined him in the lawsuit.

The oil and gas industry and other businesses have said that the 2015 NAAQS were imposed as many states were trying to complete their implementation of the 2008 federal requirements. The new 70 parts per billion limit did not consider nonindustrial background sources in areas such as national parks, and potentially could trigger penalties erroneously, they warned.

The US House of Representatives approved a bill last month, which would give states more time to implement the new ozone limits and avoid federal penalties, by 231 to 188 votes along party lines, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it (OGJ Online, July 19, 2017).

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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