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New York, other states to sue EPA over missed ozone deadline

A group of states have announced that they will sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 60 days if no action is taken on issuing designations for the 2015 ozone standards.

The EPA missed an Oct. 1 deadline to designate the areas of the country that must make changes to comply with the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone. Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt had attempted to delay the deadline by a year in a June rulemaking, but the EPA scrapped that effort after facing lawsuits from states and environmental groups. Nevertheless, the deadline came and went without an announcement from the agency, and as of Oct. 5, the EPA had not yet released the designations.

Environmental groups on Oct. 3 announced their intent to sue the agency over the missed deadline, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other attorneys general have now said they will do the same.

In addition to Schneiderman, legal officials from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia signed the Oct. 5 notice of intent. Those same states, along with Delaware and New Mexico, sued the EPA over the agency's earlier attempt to delay the deadline.

"EPA's promulgation of [National Ambient Air Quality Standards] sets in motion a process under the statute that several years later results in air quality benefits," the attorneys general wrote to Pruitt. "A delay in any of these steps in the process in turn delays when the public receives the air quality benefits of a stronger standard."

The agency now has 60 days to comply to resolve the matter before the states can file a lawsuit.