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Group sues over EPA's review of state air plans

Group sues over EPA's review of state air plans

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DENVER (AP) -- An environmental group is suing to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to speed up its review of state pollution regulations.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court claims there's a backlog of dozens of so-called state implementation plans awaiting review and approval. WildEarth Guardians says not acting on the plans prevents the public from being assured the law is being followed.

States file the plans when they change how they comply with the federal Clean Air Act.

The lawsuit singles out Colorado, Montana, and Utah, where the group says many of its members and supporters live. Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians said the concern is that some states may be following looser regulations enacted by the Bush administration.

"We just want to make sure we're up to speed on where our clean air rules are at," Nichols said.

A message left for a Denver EPA spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

Some of the state plans awaiting approval go back 10 years, according to the lawsuit. They include Colorado's reporting requirements on condensate in storage tanks in oil and gas drilling filed in 2004, Montana's visible contaminants rule for kraft pulp mills and Utah's open burning revisions, both filed in 1999.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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