EPA to reconsider North Carolina pollution limits request

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will reconsider a request by North Carolina to hold 11 neighboring states to tighter air-pollution standards.

The EPA's about-face is the latest legal twist in a five-year effort by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to curb air pollution blowing across the mountains from upwind states. About a third of the state's counties do not meet federal standards for ozone or fine-particle pollution.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington directed the EPA to reconsider North Carolina's petition after the agency conceded that its legal justification for denying it had disappeared. The ruling was issued late Thursday and announced today. The eventual agency regulations could affect utilities in 11 Eastern and Midwestern states extending to Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"This is another successful step in our fight against air pollution in North Carolina," Cooper said of the court ruling.

"It puts us in a better position to stop out-of-state pollution from coming into North Carolina. This is a strong message from the court to the EPA to handle this matter quickly."


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