By Tim Pearce
Seven blue states threatened President Donald Trump’s administration with a lawsuit Friday over delaying enforcement of air pollution regulations enacted under former President Barack Obama, The Hill reported.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) missed a Nov. 30, 2017, deadline to approve state plans to comply with a 2016 rule limiting pollution from landfills. The states, with California in lead, are now threatening legal action against what they say is an abdication of EPA’s responsibility to enforce federal law.
“Climate change is the most important global environmental issue of our time. We must act to address it now for the sake of our children,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “EPA Administrator Pruitt has a legal responsibility to enforce this critical landfill methane regulation. If he fails to do his job, our coalition is ready to go to court.”
States are obligated to issue a warning 60 days prior to filing a lawsuit in court, under the Clean Air Act.
The Obama administration cracked down on air pollution from landfills in an attempt to limit the methane gas created from decomposition. Trump administration EPA Head Scott Pruitt would reconsider the rule, he announced in May 2017. But the announcement did not void his department’s responsibility to act by the Nov. 30 deadline.
Republicans resisted the law when it was first drafted and criticized it as unworkable and expensive.
“EPA is continuing to ensure that the public has the opportunity to comment on agency actions,” Pruitt said in his May statement. “Reconsidering portions of the landfill rules will give stakeholders the opportunity to review these requirements, assess economic impacts, and provide feedback to the agency through the reconsideration process.”
To date, Becerra and California have sued the Trump administration over climate and environmental issues nine times and have won every case, according to The Hill.