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Seven states sue EPA over emissions from residential wood heaters

By Bryan Cohen | Oct 10, 2013

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a lawsuit on Wednesday filed by a coalition of seven states against the federal Environmental Protection Agency for alleged Clean Air Act violations.

Schneiderman joined the states of Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland and Connecticut, in addition to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, in filing the lawsuit. The suit alleged the EPA failed to adequately limit air pollution emissions from new residential wood heaters. The coalition alleges the EPA's limits are outdated and leave out popular types of wood heaters currently being used.

"EPA's regulations simply haven't kept pace with the proliferation of wood-burning devices or the availability of cleaner-burning units," Schneiderman said. "Smoke from residential wood-burning heaters poses a serious health threat, especially in New York's rural communities. This lawsuit aims to force the EPA to comply with the Clean Air Act and provide overdue leadership in requiring new wood heaters to meet stricter pollution standards - an action that will save consumers money, improve local air quality and safeguard public health."

Wood smoke contains multiple pollutants, such as soot, that are linked to asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death, the plaintiffs say. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must set pollution emission limits for categories of emission sources that cause or contribute significantly to air pollution. The lawsuit alleges the EPA failed to review the limits of wood smoke pollutants on three separate occasions since 1988.

The suit requests that the court find the EPA in violation of the Clean Air Act and order the agency to quickly review, propose and adopt necessary updates to the New Source Performance Standards for residential wood heaters.

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Organizations in this Story

New York Attorney General U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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