Energy & Environment

Environmental groups sue EPA over California, New Hampshire smog

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Two environmental organizations on Tuesday filed a lawsuit alleging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to properly address smog pollution in Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., as well as New Hampshire. 

In the lawsuit, the Center for Environmental Health and the Center for Biological Diversity allege that the EPA has failed to act on smog levels above the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards in those areas.  

In 2017, the lawsuit notes, the EPA published a final rule identifying 15 states and the District of Columbia that had not properly submitted implementation plans for compliance with the standards.

The finding became effective that March, with a March 2019 deadline for the EPA’s own responsibility to put federal implementation plans into effect. The agency has yet to do so for New Hampshire and three California areas: Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties (West Mojave Desert), Sacramento metro (Sacramento), and Sacramento metro (Yolo-Solano), according to the lawsuit. 

“The EPA is simply not doing its job to protect people and the environment from dangerous smog pollution,” Camilla Getz, a law fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Regulators can’t turn their backs on the reality that smog pollution is a driver of catastrophic global warming and the loss of biodiversity, two of the greatest threats to human health and life on Earth as we know it.” 

Current EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has emphasized addressing environmental justice issues and the impact of air pollution on quality of life during his tenure. However, as recently as late April, the EPA took the first step in maintaining smog standards that have not been updated since the Obama administration after the Trump administration also declined to update the standards.  

An EPA spokesperson told The Hill the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Updated at 3:05 p.m.

Tags air quality Environmental Protection Agency Los Angeles Michael Regan New Hampshire Sacremento
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