HARTFORD – Connecticut, joined by five other Eastern states and the District of Columbia, is seeking to intervene in support of a federal rule to control interstate air pollution, which is currently under challenge 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 pollutants of ozone and fine particulate matter, beginning Jan. 1, 2012, in states that contribute to high or unacceptable air pollution levels 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," said Attorney General George Jepsen. "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," Jepsen said.
Commissioner Daniel C. Esty, of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said, "Connecticut’s residents and our economy have suffered from the effects of air pollution carried here from other states. 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," Esty said.
Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont also joined the motion filed by Connecticut Wednesday.
The EPA has determined that pollution sources in 27 states "contribute significantly" to the inability by many areas in downwind states to meet or maintain compliance with federal air quality standards on ozone and particulates.
The rule specifically identifies Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland as downwind areas affected by the pollutants emitted by sources in upwind states.
Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly Massicotte, Matthew Levine and Scott Koschwitz are handling this matter for Jepsen with Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin.