NEW YORK - A group of 18 state attorneys general is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen the Clean Air Act.
At the forefront is New York's Andrew Cuomo, who said he is organizing the effort with the hopes that the EPA will not weaken the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act. The NSR governs air pollution from older coal-burning power plants and requires them to install modern air pollution controls if they increase emissions.
"The EPA should enforce and strengthen the Clean Air Act, not weaken it," Cuomo said. "Pollution from coal-burning power plants and other facilities cause real problems throughout the United States from acid rain to urban smog to global warming.
"These problems threaten people in New York State and other northeastern states downwind of these plants. It's not just our region that's at risk when the EPA tries to weaken the Clean Air Act, it's the whole country and the whole planet."
The group wrote the EPA Tuesday to responding to a proposed rule on record keeping and public information requirements that was issued March 8.
A 2005 decision by the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit forced the EPA to issue the rule. The attorneys general feel that it fails to fix the problem of requiring plants making modifications to track and report their emissions.
The attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and Vermont joined in the letter.
"Monitoring and reporting are crucial aspects of the Clean Air Act," Rhode Island's Patrick Lynch said. "EPA needs to clean up its act to better protect public health and the environment."