New Englanders Breathe Easier, But Connecticut Air Quality Still Lags | Connecticut Public Radio

New Englanders Breathe Easier, But Connecticut Air Quality Still Lags

Oct 3, 2019

New England experienced fewer days with unhealthy air quality this year compared to last year, but Connecticut fared the worst in the six-state region, according to federal environmental officials.

Despite overall improvements, Connecticut saw 21 unhealthy ozone days, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Massachusetts was second, experiencing five days and Rhode Island two days.

This news comes as the Trump administration seeks to reduce the responsibility of so-called “upwind states” for pollution that blows into downwind regions like New England.

That proposed rule change was challenged in federal court by a group of states, including Connecticut.

In a ruling Tuesday, a D.C. Circuit Court upheld that challenge, rejected the EPA's proposed rule, and remanded it back to the agency.

Attorney General William Tong’s office said in a press release that more than 90 percent of the ozone levels in southwest Connecticut result from pollution originating in areas outside of Connecticut’s jurisdiction and control. 

"This is a major victory for downwind states like Connecticut who rely on strong interstate regulation to protect our air quality,” Tong said. “We sit at the end of the tailpipe of the nation's exhaust fumes, and without EPA action we are at the mercy of our country's heaviest polluters.” 

This post contains reporting from the Associated Press.