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OAKLAND, Calif. July 5, 2022— The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Environmental Health filed a notice today of their intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to ensure that effective smog-reduction plans are in place in four states.
The areas cited in the notice include Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and three areas of California: San Diego, Placer County and Ventura County.
“One of the EPA’s most important jobs is making sure that every person has healthy air to breathe, regardless of where they live,” said Camilla Getz, a legal fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity. “When the EPA shirks that duty, millions of people are stuck suffering from dangerously unhealthy air quality, which can be especially harmful during the hot summer months.”
The EPA has determined that the areas covered in the legal notice have smog pollution at levels high enough to cause significant human health problems and ecological harm.
“The adverse health impacts of smog are undeniable,” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, illegal toxics threats director at the Center for Environmental Health. “The EPA has a legal duty to ensure these impacts are mitigated or, better yet, prevented altogether.”
Human exposure to ground-level ozone — the main component of smog — can inflame and damage airways, increasing the frequency of asthma attacks, making the lungs more susceptible to infection, and aggravating lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. These health effects are even more prevalent on sunny summer days because ozone reacts with the sun to form smog. Even relatively low levels of ozone can be harmful.
The EPA has also found that ozone not only harms plants but can damage entire ecosystems and reduce biodiversity.
This legal notice is a part of the two groups’ ongoing efforts to ensure the EPA protects human health and the environment from dirty smog, in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
For additional information about the fight against air pollution, please see Protecting Air Quality Under the Clean Air Act.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Center for Environmental Health works with parents, communities, businesses, workers, and government to protect children and families from toxic chemicals in homes, workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods.