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13 states sue EPA over rule allowing some polluters to follow weaker emissions standards

13 states sue EPA over rule allowing some polluters to follow weaker emissions standards
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A coalition of 13 states are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that allows some major polluters to follow less-stringent standards for some dangerous substances. 

The legal petition filed Tuesday doesn’t lay out the states’ arguments, but a statement says that they will argue that the rule goes against the Clean Air Act’s requirement to have major pollution sources reduce their toxic emissions by as much as possible. 

They also plan to argue that the rule is “ arbitrary and capricious” because the EPA failed to consider potential emissions increases. 

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In addition to the 13 states, the cities of New York and Chicago also joined the lawsuit. Environmental groups have separately sued over the rule. 

The rule, which could reclassify some “major” sources of pollution as minor ones, allowing them to follow weaker standards for substances like mercury, lead and arsenic, was finalized in October. 

The EPA estimated that its changes will result in up to 1,258 tons per year of additional emissions of hazardous air pollutants.
It’s a reversal of a 1995 rule, known as “once in, always in” that has required polluters to abide by stricter standards even if they have taken actions to lessen their pollution. 

EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEPA sued by environmental groups over Trump-era smog rule Environmental groups sue over federal permit for Virgin Islands refinery OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE argued that the changes will encourage facilities to pollute less. 

“Today’s action is an important step to further President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE’s regulatory reform agenda by providing meaningful incentives for investment that prevents hazardous air pollution,” he said in a statement when the rule was finalized. 

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He added that it will “end regulatory interpretations that discourage facilities from investing in better emissions technology."

However, in a statement on Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions Politics, not racism or sexism, explain opposition to Biden Cabinet nominees The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden vs. Trump, part II MORE argued that it creates a “loophole” that can cause harm. 

“Under this latest policy, petroleum refineries and chemical plants can exploit an intentional new loophole to avoid regulation, leaving vulnerable communities with less protections to deal with toxic air pollution in their backyard — and in their lungs,” said the lawyer, who is slated to join the Biden administration.