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Adirondack Council Welcomes Attorneys General, NYC to Smog Lawsuit

NYS, NJ & NYC Join Lawsuit vs. E.P.A. over Smog & Acid Rain from Midwest Coal Plants                 

BALTIMORE, M.D. – Conservationists today welcomed New York Atty. Gen. Barbara Underwood and others as allies in a lawsuit filed by the Adirondack Council, Environmental Defense Fund and others, seeking to protect Northeast states from smog and acid rain generated by coal-fired power plants in the Midwest.

Adirondack Council and other environmental organizations, together with the states of Maryland and Delaware have asked a federal court to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to order 36 coal-fired power plants upwind of the Northeast to turn on already-installed pollution control devices during the summer months. 

As required by the Clean Air Act, those devices can prevent the formation of smog and acid rain in downwind states. That would protect public health, water quality, forests and wildlife from Maryland to Maine. 

Last week, NY Attorney General Underwood filed a motion on behalf of New York, New Jersey and New York City in seeking permission from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to intervene in the case on the side of the plaintiffs. The court agreed immediately.

“We are very pleased that Attorney General Underwood has won party status in this case,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Her Environmental Protection Bureau’s team of scientists and attorneys is unmatched in the nation. Its assistance will be a great benefit to our case.  We thank the court for accepting her request.”

This case began in 2017, when the Council, EDF, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a host of public health advocates joined the state of Maryland in seeking relief from EPA pursuant to a Clean Air Act provision designed to address harmful interstate pollution that impedes attainment of health-based air quality standards. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler violated a statutory deadline for responding to the petitions, prompting Maryland and its environmental allies won a court order compelling EPA to act. 

On October 5, 2018, EPA denied Maryland’s petition and similar petitions from Delaware seeking relief from power plant pollution, prompting a new lawsuit in which those two states and the coalition of organizations are appealing EPA’s denial of relief. New York, New Jersey and New York City are now intervenor parties supporting the petitioners.

New York is pressing a similar case along with Connecticut, in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York. Atty. Gen. Underwood noted that success in the Maryland case could help New York win this lawsuit as well.

“The nitrogen pollution from these coal-fired power plants turns into smog and shortens lives in New York City, the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island,” said Janeway. “Up here, it contributes to acid rain, killing fish and forests, and making mercury contamination worse. Coal kills.”

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities. The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action to ensure the legacy of the Adirondack Park is safeguarded for future generations.  Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

For more information:

John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Dec. 10, 2018

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