Conn. AG praises decision to join anti-pollution petition

By Bryan Cohen | Dec 9, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen praised the decision Monday by Gov. Dannel Malloy to join a multi-state action that would require upwind states to reduce pollution carried in by prevailing winds.

Connecticut is joining seven other neighboring states in the action, which would require nine upwind states to reduce their air pollution emissions. The petition seeks commitments from the upwind states to protect the health of downwind residents and to level the playing field for businesses by regulating dirty, uncontrolled coal plants.

"I applaud the governor for filing this petition and strongly believe the (Environmental Protection Agency) should approve it," Jepsen said. "Both the science and the law are clear. Air pollution from these nine states is migrating to Connecticut, causing potential health problems and costs here. The EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to address the problem, as it should have done decades ago."

Connecticut is joining Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland and Delaware in the multi-state action. The downwind states are asking the EPA to require the nine upwind states to join the Ozone Transportation Region, which would require them to take actions consistent with the air pollution efforts of the downwind states. The upwind states include West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

Jepsen said Connecticut is paying far more dealing with pollution consequences than it would take to address the issues at the source of the pollution.

"Asthma rates in our state remain a significant concern despite actions to control our own in-state air pollution sources, and Connecticut has long been forced to cope with the downwind emissions of other states," Jepsen said. "The EPA should ensure that these states take responsibility for their pollution, rather than passing the buck to Connecticut. Not only is this fair, it is cost effective - it imposes far more costs on Connecticut's economy to deal with this problem here than it would to address it at the source of the pollution."

The EPA is required to approve or disapprove of the petition within 18 months.

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