Contact: Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, 504.452.4909, firstname.lastname@example.org
For immediate release
Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, released this press statement announcing that New York and ten additional states are filing a law suit against the EPA for its proposed delay of the Chemical Safety Rule. The law suit is similar to the suit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of clients around the country, including the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The suits are likely to be combined in court. "The action by the Attorneys General adds firepower to our case," said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "It is pathetic that the Louisiana AG hasn't also filed suit, but we will gladly take the help of states that aren't in the pocket of the chemical industry."
The Attorney General's statement said the need for the rule was grounded in the injuries and fatalities suffered in chemical accidents around the country, citing the Williams Olefins explosion in 2013.
Background: In January of 2017, the Obama Administration finalized the Chemical Accident Safety Rule, a rule that had been developed from years of work by Earthjustice and its clients, including the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Air Alliance Houston, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and more. The rule gave chemical companies, refineries and other facilities up to four years to implement the rule. Despite this lenience, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt acceded to an industry petition to delay the rule until 2020. Industry also sued in February of 2017 to eliminate the rule.
The clients in support of the rule, led by Earthjustice, filed a motion to intervene in the delay in April of 2017 (the rule was to go into effect on March 14, 2017). The clients also filed suit in June to challenge the delay.
The eleven states have filed their own suit out of concern for the safety and welfare of communities near chemical plants. "This is how the Trump administration stands up for the little guy who is getting blown up by chemical accidents- by siding with big industry," said Ms. Rolfes. "The delay and threatened elimination of this rule is nothing but a favor to special interests - the oil and chemical companies. The Trump Administration can delay the rule, but they will not defeat us because the facts are on our side. Fake news will lose. Workers are being injured and killed. Facility neighbors are ill from exposure and scared because of explosions. This rule is fair."