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States, Others Sue U.S. Government Over Smog Rules

smog_in_new_york.jpgEleven states and other plaintiffs, including the District of Columbia, the city of New York and Pennsylvania’s department of environmental protection, have filed a suit against the EPA in an effort to overturn what Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called weak ozone standards, the AP reports.

While an EPA science advisory board — and most health experts — recommended limiting airborne concentrations of ozone, or smog, to 60-70 parts per billion to protect the elderly, people with respiratory problems and children, the tougher ozone standards issued by the EPA in March required that airborne concentrations be lowered from 84 parts per billion to only 75 parts per billion.

On behalf of a number of environmental and conservation groups and the American Lung Association, Earthjustice filed a parallel suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Tuesday arguing that the Bush administration failed to protect public health and the environment when it issued new smog requirements

The lawsuit maintains that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ignored the recommendation of a key advisory panel of scientists who had recommended more stringent smog standards.

In April, 18 states sued the EPA in an attempt to force it to comply with a Supreme Court ruling in April that found the EPA has authority to regulate vehicle emissions.

In another suit against the government, a federal judge ruled in December that California could set its own standards on greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles, but that it would need permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement the rules.

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