Environment America and partners file lawsuit to protect clean air

Coalition challenges decision to flatline particulate matter standards
For Immediate Release

Environment America, along with ten other public interest organizations, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit opposing the Trump administration’s unlawful decision to bypass updating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). 

The petition challenges a final rule issued on this subject by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency’s action ignored evidence that stronger air quality protections are necessary to protect human health.

“America’s existing air quality standards aren't doing enough to protect our well-being,” said Morgan Folger, Destination: Zero Carbon campaign director with Environment America. “Air pollution has been increasing in recent years, and is expected to get even worse as climate change continues to ratchet up temperatures. Instead of delivering clean air, the EPA is threatening the lives of millions who live in communities with poor air quality.”

In making this decision, the EPA ignored their own scientists’ recommendations to strengthen existing particulate matter protections. Fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, referred to as PM 2.5, poses especially high health risks because it can end up deep in the lungs.  

“Tens of thousands of people have their lives cut short annually from adverse health impacts linked to air pollution,” Folger said. “All Americans deserve to breathe clean air. This legal challenge is just part of a necessary overall effort to ensure we strengthen air quality protections in order to save lives.”

The other petitioners are the American Lung Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Parks Conservation Association, National Resources Council of Maine, National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists.