The suit claims that sources of air pollution located within Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia are contributing to smog in New York and Connecticut. Under the federal Clean Air Act, the EPA is responsible for "protecting and improving the nation's air quality" and reducing ground-level ozone, also known as smog. Specifically, the Good Neighbor Provision of the act requires EPA action to reduce interstate smog pollution. Increased levels of smog could threaten the health of millions of New Yorkers.
This lawsuit is the latest in a stream of challenges posed against the EPA. Eight states in the northeast, including New York and Connecticut, filed a lawsuit last December, claiming the EPA failed to enforce smog standards.
"With this action, we are sending yet another clear message to the federal government that when our environment is threatened, New York will step up at every turn to protect our most vital resources for future generations," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
Studies have found smog's reaction with atmospheric pollutants in sunlight produces significant negative health effects in individuals. The harmful emissions from power plants, motor vehicles, factories, refineries, and other sources can travel hundreds of miles, reacting with regional smog in downwind states such as New York and Connecticut.