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US states threaten to sue EPA to get emission rules

US states threaten to sue EPA to get emission rules


California: Five states intend to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency if it does not act soon to reduce pollution from ships, aircraft and off-road vehicles.

In a letter that California Attorney General Jerry Brown was to send to the EPA, the five states and New York City accuse the Bush administration of ignoring their requests to set restrictions.

“It’s a necessary pressure to get the job done," Brown said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “The issue of reducing our energy dependence and greenhouse gas emissions is so challenging and important that we have to follow this judicial pathway."

The threatened lawsuit comes as California is challenging the EPA in federal court over its decision last year to prohibit the state from imposing its own emission standards on vehicles.

Brown’s letter announces the group’s intent to sue, a procedural step required six months before filing a lawsuit. Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and New York City will join California in the lawsuit, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the AP.

A coalition of environmental groups says it too is considering legal action against the EPA and will send a notice of that intent on Thursday. Both letters demand the EPA respond within 180 days, although the authors acknowledge that the timeframe extends to the next administration, which might view such regulations more favourably.

Planes, tractors, snowmobiles contribute to emissions

Domestic and international flights account for 3% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Tractors, snowmobiles, riding lawn mowers and off-road vehicles produced about 220 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2007, roughly the same amount as 40 millions cars, according to the petitions. Emissions from cargo and cruise ships account for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The US, China, Russia, India and Japan also happen to be the world’s five largest producers of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

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