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Source: LongIsland.com

A.G. Schneiderman Scores Victory For New Yorkers Against Trump's EPA

Days After Schneiderman Files Lawsuit Challenging EPA's Delay Over Smog Regulations, EPA Backs Down, Vows To End Delay.

BY LONG ISLAND NEWS & PR

Posted: August 6, 2017
Originally Published: August 3, 2017

New York, NY - August 3, 2017 - New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman welcomed the federal Environmental Protection Agency's withdrawal last night of Administrator Scott Pruitt's illegal delay of the designation of areas impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (known as smog) – which is critical to protecting New Yorkers and Americans from dangerous pollution and its public health impacts.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Schneiderman led a coalition of 16 Attorneys General in filing suit against the EPA and Administrator Pruitt over the delay. A number of public health, environmental and social justice organizations also filed suit.

“On Tuesday, we sued the EPA for blocking vital clean air protections. Last night, the EPA reversed course, withdrawing Administrator Pruitt's year-long delay of these critical smog regulations,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “One in three New Yorkers breathe dangerous smog levels. The EPA's reversal - following our lawsuits – is an important win for the health and safety of the 6.7 million New Yorkers, and the over 115 million Americans, directly impacted by smog pouring into their communities.”

“Our coalition of Attorneys General will continue to take the legal action necessary to protect the people we serve – including making sure the EPA finalizes the designations by October 1, as required by the Clean Air Act,” Attorney General Schneiderman concluded.

According to the American Lung Association, over 115 million Americans - including 6.7 million, or one in three, New Yorkers - breathe harmful levels of smog, which often travels far distances from other states with less stringent clean air regulations. The designations that will now move forward play a key role under the Clean Air Act in addressing smog's serious threat to public health, by triggering requirements for state-specific plans and deadlines to reduce pollution in designated areas.

“I am pleased that the Trump EPA has reversed course on this dangerous proposal and am proud that New York's Attorney General helped lead the fight on this issue. We must work at every level of government to resist this Administration's callous assault on the environment and public health,” said Rep. Nydia Velázquez.

“Thanks to the leadership and vigilance of our New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his counterparts from other states, EPA political leaders were forced to reverse a troubling decision to halt implementation of health-based protections that reduce harmful air pollution in our communities,” said Rep. Paul Tonko. “Failing to implement these protections would pose a very real threat to our public health and our economic productivity, keeping more of our workers and students home sick and exposing all of us to higher risks of heart disease, cancer, asthma and numerous other heart and lung conditions. I applaud AG Schneiderman for his effort to protect the air our families breathe. I will continue to fight for clean air and clean water for all Americans in the halls of Congress.”

“The fight to protect public health just won a tremendous victory. The public can now take a deep breath and be more assured the air we breathe will be safer. Clean air is not a luxury item it's a necessity. It is not an overstatement to say lives will be saved because of the implementation of the clean air rule. We are so thankful that we have strong leaders like Attorney General Schneiderman who has prioritized protecting public health, and not pandering to corporate energy lobbyists,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

"Since EPA Administrator Pruitt has taken office, we have experienced threats to eliminate critical environmental, climate and health regulations,” said Rebecca Newberry, Executive Director, Clean Air Coalition of Western New York. “For decades, until the Trump Administration, the EPA has regulated ozone and other pollutants to make the air safer. When environmental regulations are weakened, the health of people in communities like ours is threatened. Last night's decision is a testimony to how we need to stand up to the Trump administration's attacks on our health and quality of life.”

Peter M. Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York said, “Because of the efforts of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the lungs of New Yorkers just got a reprieve. In the face of his litigation, the EPA has wisely withdrawn its reckless plan to delay implementation of the smog health standard. We should be ever grateful that New York has representatives that are willing to do whatever it takes to protect our environment and our health, and we should be ever hopeful that the Trump administration learns a lesson from this and pulls back on other plans that will put lives at-risk.”