Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 12, 2022


Camilla Getz, Center for Biological Diversity, (208) 901-1990,
Kaya Allan Sugerman, Center for Environmental Health, (510) 740-9384,

Lawsuit Challenges EPA’s Delay in Smog Reduction in Five States

California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Hampshire Lack Effective Ozone-Reduction Plans

OAKLAND, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Environmental Health filed an updated lawsuit today to sue the Environmental Protection Agency to force it to ensure that effective smog-reduction plans are in place in five states.

The areas cited in the amended complaint include Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Hampshire and several areas of California, including Sacramento and San Diego, Placer, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

“The EPA’s chronic failure to enforce the Clean Air Act is putting millions of people at greater risk of dangerous, smog-related health problems,” said Camilla Getz, a legal fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity. “No one in these areas can breathe easy until the EPA fulfils its mandatory duty to reduce ground-level ozone pollution.”

Human exposure to ground-level ozone — the main component of smog — can inflame and damage airways, increasing the frequency of asthma attacks, making the lungs more susceptible to infection and aggravating lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. Even relatively low levels of ozone can be harmful.

Metro Denver’s smog pollution is among the worst in the nation, with oil and gas production contributing to high levels of ozone. The amended complaint seeks to compel the EPA to fulfill its duty to reduce smog pollution in metro Denver and the North Front Range.

In Pennsylvania the EPA failed to require a coal-powered facility in Washingtonville to update its technology to limit the amount of ozone released. The amended complaint seeks to compel the agency to take final action to require the technology requirements under the Clean Air Act.

“These smoggy days are not only unsightly and emotionally exhausting, but they are also deadly to some of our most vulnerable community members,” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, illegal toxics threats director at the Center for Environmental Health. “It’s outrageous that it takes a lawsuit to force the EPA to take these basic, lifesaving steps.”

The EPA has determined that the areas covered in the amended complaint have smog pollution at levels high enough to cause significant human health problems and ecological harm.

This updated lawsuit is a part of the two groups’ ongoing efforts to ensure the EPA protects human health and the environment from dirty smog, in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Additional information about the fight against air pollution is available at Protecting Air Quality Under the Clean Air Act.

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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