Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 26, 2021


Ashley Bruner, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 666-0731,
Kaya Sugerman, Center for Environmental Health, (510) 740-9384,

Lawsuit Challenges EPA Delay in Reducing Air Pollution From Oil, Methane Gas Industries in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia

WASHINGTON— Two environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency today for failing to ensure that adequate plans are in place to control pollution from the oil and methane gas industry in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, home to almost 35 million people.

The three states are part of the “ozone transport region” created by Congress in 1990 because states in the Northeast are dependent on each other to reduce ozone and its precursors.

“Reducing deadly ozone pollution in the Northeast requires that every state does its part so that everyone can breathe cleaner air,” said Ashley Bruner, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “As we transition away from fossil fuels, enforcing these clean-air measures will bring great boons to human health and the environment across this region, especially in Pennsylvania, which produces significant amounts of methane gas from the Marcellus Shale.”

The oil and methane gas industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of the volatile organic compounds that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog. Pennsylvania produced almost 7 trillion cubic feet of methane gas in 2019, making it the second-largest producer of methane gas in the United States, behind Texas.

Ozone pollution can trigger ecological harm and human-health problems like asthma attacks and even death. Every year that ozone pollution continues to violate the national standards, up to 390,000 more asthma attacks will occur in children, according to research.

“We are calling on the Biden administration to rein in emissions from the fossil fuel industry,” said Kaya Sugerman with the Center for Environmental Health. “It’s time we really put the health of children and families first.”

The EPA has failed to ensure that adequate plans are in place to control pollution from the oil and methane gas industry in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area of New York, as well as in the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The other areas included in the ozone-transport region are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

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.

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