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Tell the EPA to make major polluters clean up their act

The Environmental Protection Agency
10 Days Remain

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What’s At Stake

Clean air is a right for all, not a privileged few. It’s long overdue for the worst polluters in this country to clean up their act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a “Good Neighbor Rule” proposal which will deliver long overdue relief to millions of Americans who are breathing unhealthy air. This rule requires the worst polluters to meet plant-specific pollution limits to address the longstanding issue of persistent pollution hotspots. Tell the EPA to enact this rule and ensure it covers all of the states and industries needed to secure clean air! 

More than 125 million people live in areas of the country where air pollution exceeds the health standard for ground-level ozone, also known as smog. Ozone is beneficial in the ozone layer but at ground level, it causes asthma attacks, lung damage, and even premature death. It also damages plant life, including forests and crops. People of color and low-income people are more likely to work and live in areas with high ozone levels and therefore suffer a disproportionate share of these harms. 

A major part of this problem is air pollution that’s emitted in one state and then drifts into another. Even if the downwind state wants to protect its people, they don’t have authority over upwind polluters. But the Clean Air Act has a “Good Neighbor” provision that requires the polluters in upwind states to clean up their act and requires EPA to step in if they do not. We need the EPA to enact this rule and clean up the pollution from upwind states that harms people and the environment in downwind states! 

The rule will deliver massive benefits for public health and the environment once it’s implemented, including 1,000 avoided premature deaths annually, 1.3 million fewer asthma attacks annually, healthier forests and crops, and improved visibility in our national parks and wild places.  

Add your voice in advocating for this common-sense rule to tackle air pollution! 

 

 

Downtown Los Angeles with morning smog
TREKANDSHOOT / GETTY IMAGES

Downtown Los Angeles with morning smog.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.