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PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2017 


Attorney General Sessions tight-lipped before the Senate Judiciary Committee; a new report says bith-control access is critical for both health and economic security; and expect a personal touch to finances as today marks Credit Union Day.

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Trump Administration Sued by Clean Air Carolina

With 17 Interstate highways in North Carolina, Clean Air Carolina is the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Monday, suiting the Federal Highway Administration for its suspension of the clean-air standard. (Mark Clifton/flickr)
With 17 Interstate highways in North Carolina, Clean Air Carolina is the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Monday, suiting the Federal Highway Administration for its suspension of the clean-air standard. (Mark Clifton/flickr)
August 1, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Federal Highway Administration now faces a lawsuit for its abrupt suspension of the clean-air standard earlier this year.

Clean Air Carolina - along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and U-S PIRG are represented in the case filed Monday by the Southern Environmental Law Center. The standard was put in place by the Obama administration and intended to reduce major highway transportation greenhouse-gas emissions.

Kym Hunter, a staff attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center explains.

"What the Trump administration did illegally and without following the proper procedures was to pull back that regulation, without any notice and comment, just basically "x" it off the books, and so that's what we're challenging in court," she explains.

The standard was expected to incentivize communities to look toward cleaner transportation options, such as public transportation, carpooling and additional areas for walking and biking.

The suit was filed in federal court for the Southern District of New York and asks the court to invalidate the suspension, forcing the standard to go into immediate effect. Trump has said publicly that standards like this are costly for automakers and the American people.

June Blotnick, executive director of Clean Air Carolina, says North Carolina is specifically impacted by highway pollution because of the number of interstates that intersect the state.

"It's a slap in the face to all Americans because it's an air-quality issue, and beyond air quality it's a climate-change issue," she says. "It's really counter-productive to remove federal standards that protect the health of all Americans."

Transportation is the largest single source of carbon pollution - making up 36 percent of the country's emissions - which is more than any other country on earth except for China, India and Russia.

Hunter says removing regulations such as this benefits large corporations.

"Well, it certainly doesn't benefit the public," she adds. "What we'd like to see is the regulation reinstated as soon as possible so that these states and cities can start collecting that vital data."

Almost 100,000 citizens nationwide, along with 24 state governments and more than 100 cities filed comments in favor of a greenhouse-gas standard.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC