Breaking news: the state of New York has officially filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Empire State joins forces with Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, all of whom are accusing the EPA of violating the Clean Air act. We have the details.
- New York Attorney General, Letitia James, is spearheading the lawsuit. She is joined by a total of five other Attorney-Generals from each of the co-plaintiff states as well as a number of politicians and lawyers.
- The newly-formed group (including Schneiderman, an outspoken anti-Trump activist), believe the EPA should restore an Obama-era Clean Air Act regulation called the “Good Neighbor” clause. It essentially forces states to consider air current travel and take steps to mitigate spillover before it affects other neighboring locations. If they refuse to comply, they can be fined.
- Schneiderman has been especially outspoken on the issue, accusing “upwind states” of transmitting smog and pollution across state lines. But he isn’t pointing the finger there; instead, he directed angst at Trump’s EPA. “The EPA continues to ignore its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act to reduce interstate smog pollution,” he said. “Since the Trump EPA refuses to follow the law, we’re suing to protect the health of New Yorkers.”
- New York Attorney General, Letitia James, also decried the smog, apparently forgetting that New York is a significant producer of pollution itself. She accused the EPA of “failing to require any further control of power plants and other sources of smog pollution in states upwind.”
- James goes on to say, “Over two-thirds of New Yorkers regularly breathe unhealthy air due to smog pollution,” apparently aligning fault for that with only upwind states.
- It’s hard to imagine that one of the most polluted states in the country bears absolutely no fault in their situation. According to this article from a Columbia University environmentalist, New York does, in fact, have issues. The mean particulate rating for Midtown is at an astronomical 14.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air; the WHO suggests anything over 12 is harmful.
- The same article reports that New York also has issues with sulfur dioxide, nickel and other toxic chemicals in the air. But here’s where things get a little bit suspicious; the research shows these levels come from locally-burned fuel and not from out-of-state pollution.
- Furthermore, a quick look at the map raises even more suspicions. The further you get out from downtown Manhattan, the lower pollution rates go. There is no path or specific channel to highlight how pollutants might be coming in from upwind states at all. While upwind blow-in is a problem, it seems as if New York might want to start looking at their own in-state practices (including factory regulation and fuel consumption in the downtown core).