“Do Nothing” Air Pollution Rule Challenged by Health and Environmental Groups

Smog is choking our lungs and iconic wild places with dangerous brown haze


Erin Fitzgerald, efitzgerald@earthjustice.org

Today, Earthjustice sued the Environmental Protection Agency’s midnight refusal to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter, or NAAQS. Issued December 18, 2020, the rule leaves in place standards from 2012, even though powerful evidence shows that those standards allow pollution levels that cause death. Earthjustice brought the action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of the American Lung Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

The following statement is from Seth Johnson, lead Earthjustice attorney on the case:

“Trump’s EPA administrators corrupted and rushed the scientific review process to conclude before Trump leaves office. We’ve gone to court on an accelerated timeline because fixing these life-saving standards is urgent. It’s well-established that particulate matter kills people, including at levels the current clean air standards permit. We look forward to tomorrow’s long-overdue change in administration, and look forward to it following through swiftly and surely on the President-elect’s promise to embolden environmental justice and to hasten the clean energy transformation.”

Other organizations joining the court challenge are the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, and Natural Resources Council of Maine.

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