Federal Courts Rule Against EPA, Scott Pruitt in First of Multiple Clean Air Lawsuits
New York and Connecticut won a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and its director, Scott Pruitt, on violations of federal requirements that have led to smog pollution in the two states.
The joint lawsuit was filed in complaint of consistent pollution blowing in from upwind states and impacting the air quality of New York and Connecticut regions. This violated the federal smog standard set in 2008, the prosecution argued, and displayed mismanagement by the agency responsible for regulating this.
The STS-92 Space Shuttle astronauts photographed upstate New York at sunset on October 21, 2000. The photograph was taken looking toward the southwest from southern Canada, and captures a regional smog layer extending across central New York, western Lake Erie and Ohio, and further west.
“Connecticut suffers from air unlit problems due to pollution sources in other states that are out of our control,” said Connecticut District Attorney General George Jepsen. “Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has a duty to take action when that happens, and, in this case, the EPA clearly failed to do so.”
The judge presiding over the case, John G. Koeltl, ruled Thursday that by June 29, the EPA must have preliminary action plans for how to resolve the pollution. The plans must become public by December 6.
The EPA will also be responsible for all legal costs.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood applauded the court’s ruling.
“The court’s decision is a major win for New Yorkers and our public health, forcing the Trump EPA to follow the law and act to address smog pollution blowing into New York from upwind states,” Underwood said.
Pruitt has been the target of over 45 lawsuits in 2018 alone, spanning from environmental failures to personal ethics, spurring the June 8 request by House Democrats that the Justice Department conduct a full criminal investigation into the violations stacking up against Pruitt.
Recently, the New York Times reported that the EPA Director received VIP seats to a University of Kentucky basketball game as a gift from a billionaire coal executive.
Pruitt has delayed measures of protection and cleanup in a series of pollution cases, including the failure to remedy sulfur dioxide pollution impacting major cities such as Indianapolis and Detroit.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, and Sierra Club filed a joint complaint in North Carolina on Thursday, citing sulfur dioxide in nearly a dozen states. A month prior, the organizations had written a letter of intent which encouraged Pruitt to recognize and solve the cleanup delay.
Now they will join fellow states in attempting to use liturgy to shorten the time frame it takes to illicit the EPA’s assistance for clean air.
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