Cuomo Files Lawsuit To Force Bush Epa To Control Global Warming Pollution From Big Oil Refineries

NEW YORK, NY (August 25, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he is suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to adopt regulations that control emissions of global warming pollution from oil refineries. Cuomo is leading a group of twelve states, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York in a suit that challenges the EPAs refusal to require new or renovated oil refineries to install technologies that control global warming pollution, in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The EPAs refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administrations do-nothing policy on global warming, said Cuomo. Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New Yorks environment, health, and economy. As long as the Bush EPA continues its blatant violation of the Clean Air Act and its shameful refusal to control global warming pollution, I will continue to fight them aggressively on all fronts.

Cuomos suit announced today charges that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it refused to issue standards - known as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) - for controlling global warming pollution emissions from oil refineries. These standards ensure that new or renovated sources of air pollution install state-of-the-art emissions control technologies. The Clean Air Act specifically requires the EPA to adopt NSPS for oil refineries, as well as power plants and other major stationary sources, if the EPA determines they emit air pollution that poses a danger public health and welfare. Nonetheless, on June 24, 2008, the EPA finalized new air pollution control regulations for oil refineries without setting a NSPS for global warming pollution. 

Oil refineries account for over 3% of the total energy consumption in the United States. Due to their large energy consumption, oil refineries are major sources of carbon dioxide, accounting for almost 15% of the carbon dioxide emitted from industrial processes nationally. These refineries also emit large amounts of methane, an especially potent global warming pollutant. 

The suit announced today by Cuomo is the latest front in the battle that New York and other states are waging to force the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to control sources of global warming pollution. For example, Cuomo is leading coalitions of states in lawsuits to require the EPA to set NSPS for global warming pollution emissions from power plants and to uphold the right of states to regulate pollution emissions from automobiles.

I am committed to using the power of my Office to step in when the federal government has failed to take action on critical issues affecting New York, said Cuomo. The EPAs repeated failure to control global warming pollution will not go unchallenged by New York State.

Todays challenge was filed in the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Joining Cuomo in the action are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia and the City of New York. The suit seeks to vacate the EPAs decision not to control oil refinery emissions of global warming pollution and to order the EPA to adopt proper NSPS. Although no petroleum refineries operate within New York State, major contributors to global warming are an acute concern to the State as they pose severe threats to its environment, public health, and economy. 

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Morgan Costello and Michael Myers of the Environmental Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection Katherine Kennedy.

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