A federal district court in Manhattan ruled this week that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency didn’t do its job regulating air pollution that impacts New York and Connecticut and needs to fix it.
A federal district court in Maryland made a similar ruling.
The petitions said the EPA wasn’t adhering to the “Good Neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, which requires the agency to keep smog and other forms of air pollution in one state from harming residents of another state. The agency admitted to missing an August 2017 deadline for promulgating plans that address ozone in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to District Judge John G. Koeltl’s decision filed June 12.
The Northeast is in the path of resulting smog and acid rain from those states.
“This is a victory for the lakes and forests of the Adirondacks and for everyone who wants clean air to breathe,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway, in a press release. “Congress ordered EPA to take action on smog and acid rain long ago. The current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken the unprecedented step of refusing to act. We are pleased that the court has reminded him to obey the law.”
The New York court decision requires the EPA to take action on the petition in New York and Connecticut by Dec. 6.
Meanwhile an Adirondack acid rain research scientist is getting a top conservation award from the Adirondack Council.
Daniel Josephson, of Old Forge, will be awarded the 2018 Conservationist of the Year Award on July 14 during Forever Wild Day at the Town of Webb School.
“When his work began in the mid-1980s, he was documenting the damage acid rain had caused in the southwestern Adirondacks, the worst-hit area in the nation,” said Adirondack Council Deputy Director Diane W. Fish, in a press release about Josephson. “Like the rest of us, he was heart-broken to see the native trout and other fish disappear from polluted lakes and ponds — including the heritage strain Honnedaga Lake brook trout. But he didn’t give up.”
The council said Josephson’s research led to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which helped create the Acid Rain Program. That program works to cut air pollution nationwide.
Retired Forest Ranger Gary Lee will also be recognized by the council that day for his efforts studying the common loon.