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Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules it says are too lax

Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules it says are too lax

Environmentalists are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a new rule they say doesn’t do enough to protect children from lead contamination.

A group of environmental advocates filed a joint lawsuit against EPA on Thursday challenging the agency’s finalized June Dust-Lead Hazard Standards that the group says are too lax to protect families. 

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The suit, filed in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, takes issue with the EPA’s newly revised environmental regulations that measure lead found in dust on floors, window sills and in soil typically from older dwellings. 

The rule, rolled out jointly by EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration denies permit for controversial Pebble Mine | Progressives see red flags in regulatory official on Biden transition team | EPA won't require industry to guarantee funding for toxic waste cleanups EPA won't require industry to guarantee funding for toxic waste cleanups OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds MORE and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Ben Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after being 'extremely sick' with COVID-19 Ben Carson says he used unproven COVID-19 treatment recommended by MyPillow CEO MORE, is meant in particular to protect children from harmful lead exposure.

“Trump’s EPA had a chance to follow mainstream science and correctly update these standards for children’s sake,” said Eve Gartner, Earthjustice attorney. “Instead it botched the opportunity and gave families a rule that falls far short of protecting children.”  

This is the second time Earthjustice is taking the EPA to task over the lead dust standards. The environmental group in 2016 previously sued the EPA to force the agency’s hand in finalizing the rule, saying the EPA at the time was delaying its rulemaking. The court in 2017 sided with the group which lead to the EPA’s finalized rule introduced this year.

“EPA has already taken eight years, wants to delay at least six more, and has disavowed any interest in working with Petitioners to develop an appropriate timeline through mediation. We are also mindful of the severe risks to children of lead-poisoning under EPA’s admittedly insufficient standards,” the court ruled in granting Earthjustice’s request.

But environmentalists are saying the EPA’s new rule still does not provide stringent enough protections for children.

Current standards result in inspections that fail to identify homes or schools with dangerous levels of lead,” said the coalition of organizations represented by Earthjustice. “When that happens homeowners and others do not take measures to reduce lead, exposing families and children to breathing in toxic levels of lead. This is illegal and intolerable.”

The EPA did not return a request for comment.