Ten U.S. states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for refusing to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants, the New York Times reported on Friday. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday, was the latest legal broadside against the Bush administration's policy on global warming.

The EPA's refusal constituted "a sad course of conduct on the part of the Bush administration and reflects a disregard for science, statute and wise policy," Attorney General Eliot Spitzer of New York, the lead plaintiff, was quoted as saying.

The suit seeks to force the environmental agency to start regulating emissions of heat-trapping gases, like carbon dioxide, from power plants and to tighten regulations of conventional smog-forming pollutants.

The basis for the argument is that the agency has not lived up to requirements in the Clean Air Act to ensure public health.

The Bush administration has argued that voluntary measures are the best way to proceed on global warming, rather than requirements on industry to reduce emissions, and the administration's decision not to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant has complicated the desire of several states to regulate emissions from cars.

The 10 states - New York, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin - were joined by two cities - New York City and Washington, D.C. - and three environmental groups.

A similar suit involving many of the same states and led by Massachusetts was dismissed last year by the same appeals court, and another suit by several of the same states to compel power producers to reduce emissions was also dismissed last year in a federal District Court in Manhattan. Both cases are being appealed.


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