Environmental News: Media Center

Press contact: Elizabeth Heyd, 202-289-2424, eheyd@nrdc.org
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page
Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Strong Health Standards for Soot Emissions

WASHINGTON  (May 9, 2014)—A federal appeals court today unanimously upheld EPA’s latest health-based clean air standards for fine particulate matter, or soot. Inhaling soot pollution can have serious health consequences, ranging from increased asthma attacks, to heart attacks and premature death.

The following is a statement by John Walke, Clean Air Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is, literally, a life-saving ruling for thousands upon thousands of Americans who would die prematurely from lung and heart problems caused by these tiny particles. EPA was vindicated in this case, as it has been in others recently, because it based its safeguards on science and the law, not industry propaganda. That’s a victory for all Americans.”

The decision came from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, summarily rejecting challenges to EPA’s safeguards under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The agency finalized updated health standards for soot pollution in December of 2012 as part of its periodic review of national air quality standards.

These updated standards are estimated to provide $4 billion to $9.1 billion in health benefits to the American public once implemented. Today’s unanimous Court of Appeals decision decisively rejected a number of attacks on these standards by industry groups. The short 11-page decision summarily dismissed industry’s claims, and in so doing, strongly affirmed EPA’s discretion to set strong, protective air quality standards for the American public.

In recent weeks EPA’s efforts to protect public health, based on sound science, have been upheld in two other major court cases: safeguards to protect the health of people who live downwind from power plant smokestacks in other states, and limits on the emissions of mercury and other dangerous toxins from power plants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Share | |