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NC Sues EPA, Saying Plants Here Don't Hurt Air Quality In Northeast

State environmental officials are suing the federal EPA again, this time over North Carolina’s possible inclusion on a list of states that contribute to air quality problems in the Northeast.

In 2013, a group of Northeastern states asked the EPA to order North Carolina and eight other states to adopt stricter air pollution control measures. The Northeastern states argued that North Carolina and other states were “the most significant contributors” to elevated ozone levels in the Northeast.

The EPA has yet to rule on that petition, but North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality filed suit Wednesday at federal court in Raleigh to force the EPA to act. The state wants to be excluded from the list, saying emissions from North Carolina's power plants haven’t affected the Northeastern states.   

"North Carolina is a leader in cleaning up its energy sector," DEQ General Counsel Sam Hayes said in a press release. "The northeastern states' petition was nothing more than a political attempt to shift the blame for poor air quality in the Northeast."

Last fall, North Carolina and two dozen other states sued the EPA to block enforcement of the Clean Power Plan, which requires states to adopt rules to cut power plant emissions.  The US Supreme Court has put the plan on hold while the lawsuit is heard.


See the text of the lawsuit on the DEQ website.

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.