Democratic governors of Northern states urged federal officials on Monday to force air pollution reductions in North Carolina and eight other states, saying citizens up North are choking on incoming smog from the South and the Rust Belt.
The governors say that on hazy summer days as much as 95 percent of their air pollution comes from the other states. They are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down on power plants, industrial facilities and automobile traffic that send foul air across state lines.
“We’re sick and tired of being the tailpipe to the polluters to our west and south,” said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin in Monday’s announcement. “These emissions create acid rain as well as dirty air. It’s killing fish in our lakes and streams.”
The EPA has 18 months to decide how to deal with the petition to control airborne pollution coming from states hundreds of miles away. The request was filed a day before the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments, on Tuesday, about the EPA’s authority to regulate air pollution that crosses state lines. In the Supreme Court case, which is not related to Monday’s petition, North Carolina supports the EPA’s position.