© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CT officials react to Supreme Court ruling on EPA provision

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily paused enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act.

The "good neighbor" provision is a rule from the EPA that aims to curb harmful emissions passed through wind, which can impact air quality of downwind and upwind states. Under the provision, the agency would have required states to develop plans to limit cross-state ozone pollution into neighboring states like Connecticut.

Attorney General William Tong called the ruling a “disappointing decision” and “a serious setback for Connecticut’s air quality and public health.” Tong said the provision would require that states submit plans for EPA approval to limit the downwind spread of smog-forming emissions.

“While the Supreme Court has temporarily paused enforcement of the 'good neighbor' provision, we will continue to aggressively pursue our ongoing litigation," Tong said. "Connecticut sits at the end of our nation’s tailpipe. Without strong federal regulations and responsible actions by our upwind neighbors, we will continue to inhale smog from our country’s heaviest cross-state polluters.”

In 2019, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts and the City of New York sued the EPA over its failure to hold upwind states accountable for cross-state pollution.

According to the American Lung Association, several Connecticut counties were marked as at-risk for their air ozone levels. Middlesex, New London, New Haven and Fairfield County all received an F for air pollution.

Katie Dykes, the commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said that the court’s decision is a setback in continuing efforts to achieve clean air. Dykes said the decision fails to acknowledge the ongoing inequities caused by interstate air pollution.

“We’re really disheartened to see the Supreme Court disrupting this long-standing framework that is our best shot to mitigate the harmful impacts of wind pollution,” Dykes said.

The Supreme Court decision is a temporary pause on enforcement of the “good neighbor” provision while a lawsuit challenging the rule makes its way through federal court.

Jeniece Roman is a reporter with WSHU, who is interested in writing about Indigenous communities in southern New England and Long Island, New York.