Eight US states sue Environmental Protection Agency over air pollution

A helicopter flies over the Hudson River with One World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan in the background, on a hazy day in New York City, December 6, 2015. (Reuters photo)
Eight Eastern US states have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency to force it to impose tougher controls on some Midwestern states over air pollution blowing eastward.
In their lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the states said the administration of President Donald Trump had failed to impose congressionally mandated anti-pollution standards on parts of the Midwest.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading the lawsuit. “Millions of New Yorkers are breathing unhealthy air as smog pollution continues to pour in from other states,” Schneiderman said.
The other states that are part of the lawsuit are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The coalition urged the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Washington to overturn the EPA's decision to allow nine mostly Midwestern states to escape tighter smog pollution controls.
This is the latest development of a legal saga that began during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Northeast and mid-Atlantic states have long claimed that emissions from coal-fired power plants and other air pollution in Midwestern states is carried eastward by prevailing air currents.
States within the region, established under the Clean Air Act, are required to control emissions from coal plants and other sources.
Scheiderman said the EPA’s own studies show that pollution from upwind states substantially adds to harmful levels of smog in New York, and cited an American Lung Association report showing that the New York City area ranks as the nation’s ninth most smog-polluted city.