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A Wisconsin group criticizes two of its members of Congress, a new report says the Phoenix area cannot meet its groundwater demands, and Nevada's sporting community sends its priorities to the governor.

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The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

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Lawsuit Claims New EPA Rule Increases Interstate Smog in New England

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Friday, February 15, 2019   

BOSTON – Groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to make it enforce the "Good Neighbor" provisions of the Clean Air Act, regulating interstate air pollution.

In December, the EPA announced that states don't need to comply with those requirements, saying power plants are already reducing air pollution. But the lawsuit alleges that decision puts the Northeastern states at risk.

The law firm Earthjustice filed it on behalf of the Appalachian Mountain Club and other groups, in federal District Court in Washington, DC. Georgia Murray, staff scientist for the Appalachian Mountain Club, says smog from power plants to the south travels as far north as New England.

"It's across the Ohio, Pennsylvania area,” says Murray. “But it's all cumulative, so it's really about where the air is coming from and what it's passing over and contributing to, when you're talking about what's contributing to Massachusetts."

The attorneys general of Massachusetts, New York and four other states, as well as New York City, have also filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA for failing to regulate interstate air pollution.

In 2015, the EPA found that planned efforts to reduce air pollution flowing into northeastern states would not be enough to meet air quality standards. That meant the agency needed to impose tougher regulations on upwind states.

Earthjustice Staff Attorney Charles McPhedran says the EPA was required to complete the air pollution cleanup by the end of 2018.

"Here we are in February 2019, it hasn't been done yet,” says McPhedran. “EPA doesn't get to simply extend this deadline – a deadline set by the Clean Air Act – and allow public health consequences to occur in the meantime."

Murray adds that allowing the deadline to pass has had severe consequences.

"That's more days when kids and families are told to limit outdoor activities, more times kids are sent to emergency rooms due to asthma attacks, and more days at home from school and missed work because air pollution affects your health,” says Murray.

Other parties have until Tuesday to file additional challenges to the EPA rule.


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