Groups Sue EPA Over Refusal to Strengthen Toxic Ozone Standards

WASHINGTON – NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council), together with thirteen health and environmental groups, half of them represented by Earthjustice, sued the Environmental Protection Agency today over air pollution standards. In a lawsuit in federal appeals court, the groups challenged the Trump administration’s eleventh-hour refusal to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone (NAAQS).

The following is a statement from Vijay Limaye, climate and health scientist with the Science Center at NRDC:

“This case challenges the Trump administration’s abdication of its responsibility under that law to protect people by following the science. The science clearly calls for more protective ozone standards.  For nearly half a century, the Clean Air Act has helped protect the country from the health consequences of dirty air. That protection is critical for all of us, but especially children, older people, communities of color, and low-income communities who are disproportionately burdened by higher levels of pollution in the air.”


The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenges a rule EPA issued in December that left 2015 standards in place. Subsequent scientific evidence has shown those standards are insufficient to protect the health of vulnerable populations from ground-level ozone, which causes asthma attacks, other respiratory problems and is linked to premature deaths. According to the American Lung Association, more than 134 million people in the U.S. live in counties with dangerous levels of ozone, many of which are disproportionately low-income and communities of color.  Ozone is also a greenhouse gas that contributes to the climate crisis.

Earthjustice represents the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Appalachian Mountain Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club. The Clean Air Task Force represents the Clean Air Council, Conservation Law Foundation, and Natural Resources Council of Maine. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, and Environmental Law & Policy Center have also signed on to the challenge.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 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 and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

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