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Breathe Easier, America

The lungs of America got two big breaks this week with court rulings that protect them from air pollution emitted by power plants, factories, and diesel trucks.

And there is a strong hint of more to come.

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case defending an ill-conceived cap and trade system for emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic and other pollutants from the nation's coal-fired power plants. Earthjustice and our clients had argued that such a system would create toxic hot spots in regions across the nation.

On Tuesday, the DC Circuit Court rejected air pollution standards for particulate pollution set by the Bush administration. Earthjustice, representing a coalition of conservation and public health groups, had argued that the Bush EPA had ignored the advice of EPA's own scientists back in 2006 when they decided to leave the old standard in place. The court also found the agency failed to protect the public from haze, which impacts national parks and wilderness areas.

In addition, the new EPA chief Lisa Jackson hinted in an interview with USA Today that the Obama administration will reconsider Bush-era ozone standards that were less protective than the levels recommended by EPA scientists. Earthjustice supporters will remember our Adopt the Sky campaign which mobilized activists for stronger protections.