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Lawsuit faults EPA's actions after 9/11

NEW YORK -- Residents and workers in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn sued the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday, saying the agency improperly let thousands of people return to their homes and businesses after the World Trade Center collapse.

The lawsuit filed in US District Court in Manhattan accused the agency of making misleading statements about air quality after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It accused the agency and its leaders, including former EPA administrator Christie Whitman, of "a shockingly deliberate indifference to human health." The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and reimbursement for cleanup and asks the court to order a fund be set up to finance medical monitoring for conditions resulting from exposure to trade center dust.

The agency, in a statement, said it had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment directly on it, but defended its staff's "remarkable feats" after the attacks -- including the monitoring and sampling of air, dust, and river and drinking water.

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