Calif. officials sue Trump administration over loosened EPA standard

Calif. officials sue Trump administration over loosened EPA standard

April 10 (UPI) — Officials in California, including the state’s attorney general, have sued the Trump administration over an Environmental Protection Agency decision to eliminate a regulatory standard.

The old policy, known as the “once in, always in” rule and in place since 1995, required the EPA to regulate major sources of pollution as such, with no chance for reassessment. A new policy, announced in January, would allow “major sources” to be reclassified as “area sources” and face different regulatory standards.

At the time of the move, the head of the EPA’s air office, William Wehrum, said the old policy was based on an incorrect interpretation of the Clean Air Act, and added that the change would “reduce regulatory burden for industries and the states, while continuing to ensure stringent and effective controls on hazardous air pollutants.”

But in announcing the lawsuit Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the change is illegal.

“Instead of prioritizing the health of hardworking Americans, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to let major polluters off the hook. That is unconscionable, and it is illegal,” Becerra said in a statement. “If the ‘Once In, Always In’ policy is rescinded, children in California and around the country — particularly those who must live near the polluting plant or factory — may grow up in an environment with tons of additional hazardous pollutants in the air they breathe.”

The plaintiffs, which include the California Air Resources Board, filed their suit in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday.