October 27, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
OVER CHANGES TO CLEAN AIR ACT
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced that Maryland
has joined 11 states and the District of Columbia today in suing
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over recent changes to
the New Source Review program under the federal Clean Air Act.
The states argue that the new regulations will sharply weaken national
air pollution protections and result in damage to the environment
and public health.
the lawsuit filed today the states and localities argue that
has the authority to make sweeping changes in the
Clean Air Act. The new rules will allow coal-fired power plants,
oil refineries and other large industrial sources to release more
pollution into the nation’s skies.
The Clean Air
Act requires existing industrial sources of air pollution to
install modern air pollution controls when they are
modified. While Congress intended pollution controls to be added
for any modification that increases pollution, EPA long ago allowed
exemptions for “routine maintenance” to exclude routine
work that would not be expected to increase pollution.
11 upwind states contribute significantly to Maryland’s
air quality problems. Pollutants such as nitrogen oxides contribute
to the state’s ground-level ozone problems and to high levels
of nitrogen in the
“We will take whatever steps necessary to protect the health
of our citizens and the Chesapeake Bay,” Attorney General
Curran said. “Over 650,000 Marylanders suffer from respiratory
ailments. The air they breathe–the air we all breathe–needs
to be improved, and the rule announced by the EPA is a step in
the wrong direction.”
The revisions to the New Source Review program were signed by
the EPA Acting Administrator on August 27, 2003 but did not become
final until they appeared in the Federal Register today.
action was filed in United States Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit, where a currently pending
challenge to the first round of Clean Air Act rollback regulations