August 25, 2008 / 6:00 PM / in 9 years

12 states sue EPA over refinery carbon emissions

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York and 11 other states are suing federal environmental regulators over greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries, the New York attorney general’s office said on Monday.

The suit, led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, charges that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal Clean Air Act by refusing to issue standards, known as new source performance standards, for controlling global warming pollution emissions from oil refineries.

“The EPA’s refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming,” Cuomo said in a release. “Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York’s environment, health, and economy.”

In ruling last year, the Supreme Court found that the EPA has the power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Since then, the EPA head has said it is Congress’ job to regulate emissions of gases blamed for warming the planet.

Coalitions of states have also sued the EPA to require it to set standards for global warming emissions from power plants and to uphold the right of states to regulate pollution emissions from automobiles.

Monday’s suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, said about 15 percent of U.S. industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, come from crude refineries, which burn some oil as they make products like gasoline and jet fuel.

The suit seeks to force the EPA to control oil refinery emissions of greenhouse pollution and to order the agency to adopt the standards.

The EPA did not immediately return phone calls about the suit.

The other states and cities in the suit were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia and the City of New York.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner, editing by Jim Marshall

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