The French national government and local governments have announced several anti-pollution measures in recent years, and the council found that they met EU requirements in some regions but were insufficient in eight other regions.
Several environmental groups have asked the State Council to find a way to force the government to act. In his decision on Friday, he said the fines were necessary because of “the importance of respecting EU law, the serious consequences for public health”.
He noted that the potential fines – 54,000 euros ($ 61,000) per day of inaction – are the highest the council has ever imposed – and threatened to increase them further if the French government does not act. The money could go to environmental groups that take action against pollution.
The government did not immediately respond to the decision.