Groups Battle Against Industry for Cleaner Air

Sulfur dioxide causes asthma and other respiratory ailments

This page was published 13 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

So, imagine breathing in a substance that not only exacerbates but causes known breathing problems such as asthma. You’d want the Environmental Protection Agency to do something about it, right?

Well, they did: in June the EPA reined in emissions of sulfur dioxide—a nasty chemical—from power plants and other sources. These new standards are expected to prevent thousands of asthma attacks and hundreds of emergency room visits every year.

Great, right? Industry doesn’t think so.

In August several industry groups and two states filed court challenges to the new standards, and Earthjustice stepped in. Representing the American Lung Association and the Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice intervened on behalf of the EPA to defend these crucial standards.

According to this article, the new standards would result in 2,300 to 5,900 fewer premature deaths and 54,000 fewer asthma attacks per year. In that article, American Lung Association President Charles D. Connor said, "This standard offers the promise of real protection to the people who have breathed these fumes for far too long."

Here’s what Earthjustice attorney David Baron had to say about the latest filing: "The law requires clean air standards to be strong enough to protect health. We want to make sure that kids and senior citizens can go outside without getting sick just from breathing."

Stay tuned as we continue to clean up the air you breathe. 

Raviya was a press secretary at Earthjustice in the Washington, D.C. office from 2008 to 2014, working on issues including federal rulemakings, energy efficiency laws and coal ash pollution.

Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C., office works at the federal level to prevent air and water pollution, combat climate change, and protect natural areas. We also work with communities in the Mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere to address severe local environmental health problems, including exposures to dangerous air contaminants in toxic hot spots, sewage backups and overflows, chemical disasters, and contamination of drinking water. The D.C. office has been in operation since 1978.