Washington has joined 11 states, the city of New York and the District of Columbia in a federal lawsuit technically aimed at curbing air pollution from oil refineries but mostly intended to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use its regulatory authority to better fight global warming.
“Washington state is doing its part to address climate change,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement announcing the suit. “We continue to have to litigate to force the Bush administration to do its part. This is another example of the EPA failing to recognize the human health end of environmental consequences of air pollution.”
The lawsuit, announced Monday, was filed in the appeals court for the District of Columbia. It contends that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it refused to issue a set of regulations for controlling carbon emissions from oil refineries.
“It’s time for leaders in the other Washington to do their part to address smog and global warming,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna.
The other plaintiff coalition states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
According to Seth Preston, a spokesman for the state Ecology Department, there are six oil refineries regulated by the EPA in Washington: Two in Whatcom County; two in Skagit County; one in Tacoma; and the new biodiesel refinery in Grays Harbor. Preston acknowledged that oil refineries are not the state’s largest, single-source industrial emitters of carbon.