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: New Interior rule would limit scientific studies agency can consider | Panel battles over tree-planting bill | Trump to resume coal leases on public lands Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic Overnight Energy: EPA moves to limit financial pressure on 'forever chemical' manufacturers | California sues Trump over water order| Buttigieg expands on climate plan MORE and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonDemocrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it Melania Trump receives university's 'Woman of Distinction' award amid pushback from students California Gov. Gavin Newsom on the homeless: 'We own this issue' 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.