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Kilmartin Sues EPA Demanding Agency Protect RI From Upwind Pollution

RI Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.

PROVIDENCE — RI Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined a coalition of eight attorneys general, filing suit Tuesday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force action under the Clean Air Act to ensure upwind states control pollution blowing into Rhode Island and other downwind states.

Congress created the RIAG to help states address pervasive smog problems in the northeastern United States.  By statute, the Region consists of 11 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont – and the District of Columbia metropolitan area, according to Kilmartin’s office.

Modeling and analysis performed by EPA, as well as by states, has shown that interstate transport of air pollution from upwind states outside of the Ozone Transport Region –including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – contributes significantly to violations of the 2008 federal smog standard within the Ozone Transport Region, according to a release from Kilmartin’s office. In addition, preliminary modeling demonstrates that emissions in these states, as well as North Carolina, are projected to contribute to violations of the recently updated, 2015 federal smog standard in the Region.

In December 2013, a number of northeastern states submitted a petition under the Clean Air Act asking EPA to add nine additional states shown or projected through modelling and analysis to contribute to violations of federal smog standards in the Ozone Transport Region.

These nine states are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.  When EPA took no any action on that petition, a coalition of states filed suit against the EPA to compel it to act.  The coalition of states subsequently negotiated a consent decree that required EPA to approve or disapprove the petition no later than October 27, 2017.  On that date, Trump EPA Administrator Pruitt denied the states’ Ozone Transport Region petition.

 Tuesday’s suit, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asks the court to review Administrator Pruitt’s denial of the petition.  The coalition will ask the court to determine that the denial is unlawful and to vacate it.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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