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EPA chief backtracks on delaying rules reducing emissions

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 3, 2017

In this June 2, 2017, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
In this June 2, 2017, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
By Michael Biesecker Associated Press

WASHINGTON – One day after getting sued by 15 states, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has reversed his decision to delay implementation of Obama-era rules reducing emissions of smog-causing air pollutants.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Pruitt presents the change as his agency being more responsive than past administrations to the needs of state environmental regulators. He makes no mention of the legal challenge filed against his prior position in a federal appeals court.

At issue is an Oct. 1 deadline for states to begin meeting 2015 standards for ground-level ozone. Pruitt announced in June he would delay compliance by one year to provide more time to study the plan.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he and the others who sued will continue to hold Pruitt accountable.

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