Allies Sue over EPA Smog Decision that Puts Millions in Danger

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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 7:53 pm | Updated: 8:08 pm, Tue Oct 23, 2018.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Environmental Defense Fund and a coalition of health, environmental, and citizens groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review an Environmental Protection Agency decision that puts millions in Maryland and Delaware at a higher health risk from smog.

Maryland and Delaware had asked EPA for help with smog blowing across their borders from coal plant smokestacks in upwind states, but EPA denied the request. Maryland filed a lawsuit challenging that decision last week. Today EDF and its allies filed a similar lawsuit with the court.

"The Clean Air Act is clear that EPA must protect downwind states from dangerous air pollution that is encroaching on them from coal plants in neighboring states. EPA’s denial of Maryland and Delaware’s petitions shirks that responsibility, and prevents states from providing the cleanest and safest air possible for their citizens," said EDF Senior Attorney Graham McCahan.

Smog is linked to premature deaths, hospitalizations, asthma attacks and long-term lung damage. States that are working to reduce smog are often undermined by dirtier air that blows across their borders, about 70 percent of Maryland’s smog problem originates from air pollution in upwind states, for instance.

Under the Clean Air Act’s "Good Neighbor" safeguards, EPA has an obligation to reduce smog-forming pollution from upwind coal power plants in other states. Maryland filed a petition under those Good Neighbor provisions asking EPA to require upwind coal plants to operate their already-installed pollution controls during the summer ozone season. Delaware also filed four separate Good Neighbor petitions asking EPA for relief from upwind coal plant emissions that were contributing to their smog problem.

SOURCE: Environmental Defense Fund

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