Attorney General Cuomo Leads Coalition Of States Urging Bush Epa To Enforce Clean Air Act
NEW YORK, NY (June 5, 2007) – New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that he is organizing an effort to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to weaken the New Source Review (NSR) provision of the Clean Air Act. To date, seventeen other Attorneys General have joined in coalition with Attorney General Cuomo.
“The EPA should enforce and strengthen the Clean Air Act, not weaken it,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “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 NSR provision is a key part of the Clean Air Act that governs air pollution from older coal-burning power plants and other facilities. It requires these facilities to install modern air pollution controls if they expand their operations and increase emissions.
The Attorneys General wrote to the EPA in response to a proposed rule on record keeping and public information requirements for coal-burning facilities and other major industrial plants that the EPA issued on March 8, 2007. The EPA was required to issue the rule in response to a 2005 decision by the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in an action brought by the State of New York and other states.
In 2005, the Court had sent back the regulations the EPA had formerly issued, which did not require plants making modifications to track and report their emissions – so long as the plant operators saw no “reasonable possibility” that these changes would trigger NSR requirements. The Court found these regulations to be arbitrary.
The Attorneys General believe the EPA’s new proposed rule still fails to fix this problem, making it easier for power plants to escape NSR enforcement.
Signatories to the letter, in addition to Attorney General Cuomo, were the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Vermont.