Lawsuit Filed to Fight EPA Delay in Reducing Smog in 6 States With Some of Nation’s Worst Air Quality

Polluted Regions Include Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Portions of California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York

WASHINGTON — Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit today to force the Environmental Protection Agency to require areas in six states to clean up harmful smog pollution.

The six states cited in the lawsuit are home to more than 42 million people in regions with some of the nation’s worst air quality. Ground-level ozone — commonly called smog — is known to harm the health of people, wildlife and plants.

“The EPA’s failure to do its part to cut smog pollution has very dangerous consequences for the people and wildlife living in these areas,” said Victoria Bogdan Tejeda, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Clean Air Act saves lives, but only if federal regulators enforce it.”

Ozone pollution is linked to human health problems like asthma attacks and can cause premature death. Those most at risk include older adults, children and people who work outdoors. Ozone pollution also contributes to the climate crisis by harming plants and limiting their ability to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

“The EPA’s failure to enforce smog protections increases the risk of asthma attacks and other serious health problems in all of these communities,” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, the Center for Environmental Health’s director of illegal toxic threats. “Federal and state regulators need to quit turning their backs on this critical work.”

The EPA failed to find that the following regions didn’t have plans to address the “Serious” nonattainment of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone: Chicago-Naperville area of Illinois; Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas; New York City metro areas of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey; non-metro areas of Connecticut; and San Diego County, California.

The EPA also failed to rule on plans for the West Mojave Desert area of California, which is designated as in “Severe-15” nonattainment of the ozone standards.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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.