NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested that the Environmental Protection Agency implement a rule that he says would slash the amount of air pollution currently allowed to cross state lines.
The proposed rule requiring cuts in soot and smog pollution from upwind states was ordered by a federal appeals court more than two years ago, Schneiderman says.
"Every day, pollution from upwind states blows into New York, spoiling our environment, contaminating the air we breathe, and harming our health," Schneiderman said Monday.
"Cutting the amount of air pollution that crosses state lines would avoid hundreds of thousands of illnesses and produce benefits worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually nationwide."
Schneiderman and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper teamed on the letter that was sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week. In the letter, the attorneys general addressed the Transport Rule, which is an air pollution regulation that came about from a 2005 lawsuit brought by North Carolina and supported by a 10-state coalition led by New York.
Cooper's lawsuit, however, was shot down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"To realize these enormous benefits and protect New Yorkers' air-and lungs-without delay, the EPA should take prompt action to help stem the dangerous tide of dirty air flowing into New York," Schneiderman said.
The rule would reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that cross the boundaries of 31 states and the District of Columbia into other states, Schneiderman says.
In July 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision supporting the states' position that the EPA had to require reductions in the interstate transport of air pollution and sent the rule back to the agency to comply.
On June 6, 2010, the EPA released a revised Transport Rule proposal in response. The attorneys general are asking that the rule be in its final form by June 30 so improved air quality can begin soon. They also ask that a full timetable for the steps the EPA will take to achieve this deadline be delivered to them.
Schneiderman said that once the Transport Rule is in effect, it will prevent approximately 2,400 annual premature deaths by the year 2014 while New York should save roughly $20 billion in annual benefits.