HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced Friday that the state of Connecticut and five other Eastern states are seeking to intervene in support of a federal rule to control interstate air pollution.
The District of Columbia is also part of the group that will support the rule, which is currently being challenged in a lawsuit before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The federal Environmental Protection Agency rule requires significant reductions in nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, the precursor to pollutants of fine particulate matter and ozone, starting on January 1 in states that contribute to high or unacceptable air pollution in downwind states, such as Connecticut.
"While Connecticut has stringent laws controlling sources of air pollution emissions, the same cannot be said of other states," Jepsen said. "The EPA proposed a rule that controls sources of pollution in other states, which would otherwise blow into our region. We are working to ensure that this rule is not overturned."
Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Delaware also joined the motion filed by Connecticut on Wednesday. The EPA has determined that pollution sources in 27 states contribute significantly to the inability of many areas in states that are downwind to maintain or meet compliance with federal air quality standards on ozone and particulates. The rule specifically identifies Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut as downwind areas affected by the pollutants emitted by sources in upwind states.
"Connecticut's residents and our economy have suffered from the effects of air pollution carried here from other states," Daniel C. Esty, the commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said. "This pollution is not only unhealthy, it places us at an economic disadvantage as other states take advantage of cheaper electricity prices made possible by uncontrolled power plants. The EPA framework is a positive first step in addressing this issue and Connecticut, with the other states, is committed to seeing that air pollution transport is addressed."