"These illegal delays mean more days when children and senior citizens are warned to stay indoors because of dirty air," said Earthjustice attorney David Baron. "EPA needs to stop violating clean air deadlines and start protecting our lungs."
Earthjustice has repeatedly sued EPA for illegally evading smog cleanup schedules set by the Clean Air Act. In the last two years alone, Earthjustice has obtained three separate court decisions overturning EPA efforts to put off deadlines for metropolitan Washington DC -- one of the areas cited in the Inspector General report. Last June, Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of four national environmental groups arguing that EPA had illegally weakened anti-smog requirements for polluted cities throughout the nation.
Among other things, the Inspector General found that:
Ozone, the primary component of smog, is a powerful irritant that leaves the lungs inflamed, as though they were sunburned. Ozone causes asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing and other respiratory distress, and is linked to increased use of medications, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits.