A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop action plans for states not complying with ozone marks from the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards, siding with Connecticut and New York.
John G. Koeltl, a judge with the U.S. Southern District of New York, ruled Tuesday that the EPA must come up with action plans for five states by June 29, and that the agency must make those orders publicly available by Dec. 6.
Connecticut and New York filed suit in January after the EPA missed an August 2017 Clean Air Act deadline to issue the federal implementation plans.
“The Clean Air Act protects the people of Connecticut from other states’ pollution and the EPA is obligated to enforce these common sense air quality standards,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “Today’s decision by the district court is welcomed news for the people of Connecticut. As a downwind state, our residents have suffered for too long from other states’ lax clean air standards.”
Koeltl’s decision came in response to a motion for summary judgment that the two states filed in April. He wrote in his judgment that Connecticut and New York had cause to file the complaint, because their ability to comply with Clean Air Act standards are hampered by pollution coming from other states.
He also said Connecticut and New York also “having standing to file suit to protect their citizens from the harmful effects of the high level of dangerous pollutants in their states caused by the pollutants coming from the defaulting states.”
The EPA asked that Koeltl merely require a notice of proposed action by June 29, followed by a notice of final action on Dec. 6. The EPA also opposed requiring it to make an action publicly known, stating it is not required to do so.
Koeltl, noted, the EPA agreed in prior court filings that it could meet the deadline he ultimately set in his ruling. He also wrote that the EPA said it could promulgate the final notices by Dec. 8 by posting them on the agency’s website, as it typically does.