Originally published December 29 2006
States sue the EPA over air quality standards
by Jerome Douglas
(NaturalNews) The state-based lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and it states as a main argument that the EPA has ignored the advice of its own scientists. The suit suggests that the EPA should lower the acceptable level for airborne soot -- known as fine particulate matter -- to 13 or 14 micrograms per cubic meter of air -- down from the current 15-microgram level that took effect just this week. The states claim that the federal agency failed to set air quality standards to a level that could save up to 24,000 lives per year.
The EPA's analysis found that lowering the level to 13 micrograms would have prevented 24,000 premature deaths per year from chronic respiratory disease and asthma attacks, yet the agency did not mandate the lower level. "This case is just one more example of the federal government ignoring sound science in establishing environmental policy and watering down safeguards designed to protect the public," stated Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty.
Sources of particulate matter in the air include motor vehicle exhaust, emissions from factories and power plants and smoke from wood fires. Almost a year and a half ago, 12 states sued the EPA over its plan to allow the trading of mercury emissions.
The 13 states involved in the current air quality lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont as well as the District of Columbia and California's South Coast Air Quality Management District.
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