Following months of inaction from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a U.S. District Court ordered the agency to move forward with implementation of life-saving protections to reduce smog.
The order comes in response to legal challenges filed by a broad coalition of states, and by a coalition of health and environmental groups – including EDF – which challenged EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s illegal delay in implementing the smog protections.“Today’s court decision is a big win for the health of America’s children. It will help us protect families and communities by ensuring that EPA is moving forward to implement health-based protections to reduce smog,” said EDF attorney Rachel Fullmer. “The order likewise ensures all Americans have transparent information about harmful air pollution in their communities.”
The order ensures that EPA will implement the health-based 2015 Ozone Standards. Ground-level ozone is a key component in smog. It is a dangerous air pollutant that irritates the lungs, exacerbates lung conditions like asthma, and is linked to a wide-array of serious heart and lung diseases. Smog is particularly harmful for children, seniors, people with lung impairments like asthma, and anyone active outdoors.
EPA estimates that, when communities meet the smog standard, it will save hundreds of lives, prevent 230,000 asthma attacks in children, and prevent 160,000 missed school days for kids each year.
Today’s order ensures EPA moves forward expeditiously to determine those areas of the country that meet or exceed the 2015 health-based smog standard — an important step in restoring healthy air in communities across the country facing elevated pollution level.
EDF was joined by the American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, American Thoracic Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, The Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Environmental Law & Policy Center, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and West Harlem Environmental Action in the court challenge.
The states involved in the case were California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
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