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15 states sue EPA over decision not to tighten pollution standard for smog

15 states sue EPA over decision not to tighten pollution standard for smog
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Fifteen states and two cities sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday for declining to tighten air quality standards for ozone pollution, the main ingredient in smog. 

According to a statement, the states and cities argue that “the EPA conducted a flawed and unlawfully biased review” and that “the available science clearly demonstrates the need” for stronger standards. 

“We’re going to court today because of the undeniable harm that ozone pollution has on kids playing soccer near highways and parents scraping together money they don’t have to pay for asthma medication,” California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions Politics, not racism or sexism, explain opposition to Biden Cabinet nominees The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden vs. Trump, part II MORE, President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill Rural Americans are the future of the clean energy economy — policymakers must to catch up WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year MORE's nominee to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary, said in a statement.

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Last month, the EPA finalized its decision to retain the Obama-era air quality standard of 70 parts per billion for ozone, despite calls from environmentalists to tighten them. 

At ground level, the pollutant can worsen health conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. When the standards were first proposed during the Obama administration, an EPA analysis showed that the 60 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standards could have prevented 3,900 deaths linked to long-term exposure, while just 680 deaths would have been prevented under the 70 ppb standard. 

However, EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEPA sued by environmental groups over Trump-era smog rule Environmental groups sue over federal permit for Virgin Islands refinery OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE said when the rule was finalized that the standard is in line with science. 

“I looked at it just like Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyBiden climate adviser says Texas storm 'a wake-up call' Climate change rears its ugly head, but Biden steps up to fight it The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan MORE did in 2015,” he said, referring to the EPA chief at the time, who will be climate adviser to Biden. “I think the 70 is in keeping with where the science is today."

Several states recently filed a similar suit over the agency’s decision not to tighten soot pollution.