- New York officials last week announced their intention to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if it fails to address pollution coming from upwind sources in other states, particularly those in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
- N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a notice of intent to sue, alleging violations of the Clean Air Act, including failure to curb ground-level ozone pollution that blows into New York.
- In August, a deadline passed for EPA to adopt Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) addressing the pollution from two dozen states. New York officials say they will sue if the federal government does not do its duty under Good Neighbor provisions of the Clean Air Act Act within 60 days.
Two years after determining plans by 24 states would not be sufficient to reduce cross-state air pollution, New York officials say the federal government has not adopted plans to address the failure. Lack of finalized FIPs, said Schneiderman, will trigger a lawsuit if the EPA does not take steps soon.
“Millions upon millions of New Yorkers are still breathing unhealthy air due to smog pollution, a huge amount of which is blowing into New York from upwind states,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “If the EPA won’t follow the law, we’ll sue to protect the health of New Yorkers.”
At least a third of New Yorkers breathe air with unhealthy levels of smog pollution, Schneiderman said. Some estimates place that figure much higher, up to two-thirds of the state, or almost 13 million people. EPA faced a two-year deadline under the Clean Air Act to adopt federal plans for the upwind states, which expired Aug. 12, according to New York.
Schneiderman also leads the coalition of Attorneys General that filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA earlier this month over its failure to designate areas impacted by smog, which is required in order to trigger action. The AG's statement said the CAA lawsuit would be handled for the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau by Affirmative Section Chief Morgan Costello and Senior Counsel Michael Myers.
New York's lawsuit would not be the only CAA-related action facing the EPA.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced in September that the state will sue the EPA over its decision not to require 36 coal-fired power plant units in five upwind states to run their existing air pollution controls more frequently. According to state officials, on some days, up to 70% of its ozone problem originates from emissions in upwind states.