States Fight Back Against EPA Decision to Drop Power Plant Cases

It didn’t take long for the backlash to set in against the U.S. EPA’s decision, announced Wednesday, to abandon its investigations into 50 polluting power plants in the face of the Bush administration’s rollback of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review rules. One day later, Democratic senators and attorneys general from Northeastern states decried that decision and called for an inquiry into the policy change. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) demanded hearings to determine the reason for the change, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) questioned whether the agency had exceeded its authority in choosing to drop the investigations. At the same time, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who has frequently led the charge against federal environmental ne’er-do-welling, demanded that the EPA turn over all its files on the pollution cases so state officials can continue the investigations.