Bush law row

Published: Friday 31 January 2003

Nine us states -- Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont -- have filed a lawsuit against the George W Bush administration after it decided to relax clean air rules to avoid expensive pollution controls in coal-powered power plants and industries.

Existing US rules require industries and refineries to install state-of-the-art pollution control measures if they undergo any modification or expansion. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (epa) proposed that the definition of "routine maintenance" be changed, giving more leeway for modifications without having to install extra anti-pollution requirements.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer alleged that this rule change would cause more smog, acid rain and respiratory problems. The epa contended that the amendment gives plants and refineries greater flexibility in cutting emissions.

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