CLEAN AIR, ACT III

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FYI: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is leading seven northeastern states in suing the Bush administration over its implementation of the Clean Air Act. Spitzer sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman yesterday notifying her of the suit. Spitzer and company charge that the EPA has not updated its pollutant regulations in 20 years, while the Clean Air Act mandates an update at least every eight years. The real goal is to get carbon dioxide (the prime suspect in global warming) onto the list of regulated pollutants, which they believe an update would trigger since, they argue, carbon dioxide clearly fits into the act’s definition of a pollutant. The administration disputes the charge that the EPA hasn’t updated the regulations in the last eight years. More to the point, it also argues that carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant until Congress explicitly dubs it such. This is the third suit in the past two months that groups of states have brought against the administration over varying aspects of its Clean Air Act implementation. [2/21/03]