Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 1, 2017

Contact:  Robert Ukeiley, Center for Biological Diversity, (720) 496-8568,
Alex Bomstein, Clean Air Council, (215) 567-4004 x 118

Court Rejects Trump Administration's Attempt to Delay Smog Protection for Delaware

WASHINGTON— A U.S. district court has denied EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s attempt to delay action on a plan to clean up dangerous smog pollution in Delaware.

The decision is a blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to roll back Obama-era rules preventing power plants, refineries and other industrial operations from producing unlimited amounts of harmful pollution during startups, shutdowns and malfunctions.

“People in Delaware and across the country deserve clean air,” said Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Pruitt and the Trump administration would rather keep their polluting friends happy than make sure people have healthy air to breathe. This court decision is an important step toward getting smog out of our air.”

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Environmental Health and Clean Air Council sued EPA in July of last year after it failed to make sure plans were in place to clean up areas that are violating EPA’s own smog standards, including Delaware. This week’s court decision means Delaware is one step closer to having a plan in place that assures protections around the clock against smog. 

“Think about when you are behind a bus or a truck and the driver steps on the gas.  Sometimes it belches a nasty cloud of air pollution,” said Alex Bomstein, senior litigation attorney at Clean Air Council. “Now imagine living and working near a power plant, a refinery or chemical plant which is allowed to emit these large bursts of pollution day after day. Somehow, Scott Pruitt, with his close ties to the fossil fuel industry, thinks that allowing that could possibly be a good ‘policy’.”

An EPA study found that Clean Air Act programs to reduce ozone pollution prevented more than 4,300 deaths and 3.2 million lost school days in 2010 alone. The Clean Air Act has also helped to keep the U.S. economy healthy by creating jobs, with more than 1.7 million Americans employed in the environmental technology industry helping to keep our air clean. 

Ozone, the main ingredient in smog, reduces lung function, increases respiratory problems like asthma, increases visits to emergency rooms, and causes premature death. For trees, such as black cherry and cottonwoods, ozone exposure can lead to reduced growth, leaf injury and increased susceptibility to disease, insects and harsh weather.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 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.

Clean Air Council is a member-supported, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone's right to breathe clean air.

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