A group of Northeast states is taking issue with industrial pollution drifting in from the south and Midwest. New York and seven others are suing the U.S. EPA to add Ohio and eight other states to the Ozone Transport Region.
The Ozone Transport Region was created under the Clean Air Act to curb air pollution drifting across local borders. In 2013, eight states in the Northeast asked the U.S. EPA to add nine more states to the region: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
A lawsuit in 2016 resulted in a consent decree forcing the EPA to decide whether or not to grant the request. In November 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt officially denied that petition. The EPA argues there are other programs that reduce industrial smog flowing across state lines.
The latest federal lawsuit filed Dec. 26 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is asking the EPA to reconsider. The agency declined to comment. The Ohio EPA says it supports the Trump administration’s decision. They say the state has significantly reduced ozone-causing emissions, and adding stricter regulations could cost the state more than $30 million annually.