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14 states sue EPA over chemical safety regulations rollback

14 states sue EPA over chemical safety regulations rollback
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Attorneys general from 14 states filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its rollback of Obama-era chemical plant safety regulations. 

“The Trump EPA is gutting critical safeguards against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at these facilities, putting New Yorkers in harm’s way," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.  

A rule change finalized by the Trump administration last year eased safety regulations for chemical plants, making it so that they no longer deal with what officials called "unnecessary regulatory burdens."

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“Accident prevention is a top priority of the EPA and this rule promotes improved coordination between chemical facilities and emergency responders, reduces unnecessary regulatory burdens, and addresses security risks associated with previous amendments to the [risk management plan] rule,” EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEnforcing environmental laws is a key to environmental justice EPA reapproves use of pesticide previously struck down in court OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA eases permitting for modifications to polluting facilities | Rocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire | Trump order strips workplace protections from civil servants MORE said in a statement at the time.

An agency spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the EPA doesn't comment on pending litigation. 

A coalition of environmental groups also announced last year that it is suing the Trump administration over the rollback. That suit followed an explosion at a chemical plant in Texas.

In addition to New York, the EPA is being sued by Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C., and the city of Philadelphia.