The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kevin Bundy, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 313

Lawsuit Filed to Curb Particulate Air Pollution


The Center for Biological Diversity today filed suit against the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to meet numerous
deadlines for limiting dangerous pollution from tiny airborne
particles. The EPA has violated the Clean Air Act and undermined public
health by failing to determine whether areas in five western states are
complying with existing air-pollution standards and by failing to
ensure that states are implementing legally required plans to meet the

"EPA has failed to ensure that the West's air remains
clean and free from dangerous pollution," said Center attorney Kevin
Bundy. "The Clean Air Act works to protect the environment and public
health, but only if it's effectively enforced."

Particulate matter, also known as PM-10, is air
pollution made up of tiny particles smaller than 10 microns in diameter
(about 10 times smaller than the width of the average human hair).
These particles can travel deep into the lungs when breathed, posing
risks to human health that include serious respiratory illness and
premature death. Particulate pollution also damages ecosystems and
obscures scenic vistas throughout the West, including national parks
and wilderness areas. Particulate matter is one of several "criteria"
air pollutants classified as especially dangerous to public health and
welfare under the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set nationwide,
health- and welfare-based standards for particulate pollution and sets
mandatory deadlines for the agency to determine if states have met the
standards. The Act also sets deadlines for the states to develop, and
for EPA to approve, individual plans for meeting the standards.

In communities throughout the western United States, EPA
has failed to meet deadlines for determining whether particulate
pollution has been reduced to legally required levels. EPA has also
failed to determine whether required pollution reduction plans in
Arizona and Montana do enough to meet the standards. The Center's
lawsuit seeks a court order requiring EPA to correct these violations.

"Particulate pollution doesn't just spoil the view - it
can actually be deadly," said Bundy. "In a perfect world, this kind of
lawsuit wouldn't be necessary, but when EPA fails to protect the
environment and human health from these dangerous pollutants, citizens
and the courts absolutely have to step in."

A copy of the complaint is available here.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252