For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

U.S. District Court Reminds Scott Pruitt to Follow the Law and Implement Smog Standards

WASHINGTON - On Monday, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California found that Scott Pruitt had illegally delayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s designation process for stronger clean air protections against smog pollution. Gilliam ordered the agency to finish the entire process in the next month, with the exemption of the San Antonio, Texas area - which can be completed by early August.  

Smog is a serious pollutant that can cause severe asthma attacks in children, heart attacks in adults, and premature death for vulnerable populations with preexisting conditions. Under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA neglected to designate dozens of heavily populated areas with histories of pollution problems last year, ignoring the legally mandated timeline written into the Clean Air Act. Immediately following EPA’s failure to act, the agency was sued for the remaining designations, which lead to today’s judgement.  

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:

“This is a victory for everyone who breathes, and is clear evidence that Scott Pruitt’s frequent attempts to delay and obstruct federal clean air safeguards is against the law. The severity of Pruitt’s attempts are a matter of life and death. Delaying the implementation of these life saving smog standards puts the health of thousands of kids at risk.

“Time after time, Scott Pruitt and his political appointees have avoided their responsibilities and the courts are starting to catch up with them. The law is the law, and today’s decision showed Pruitt that ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. We’ll continue to do everything we can to hold the Trump administration accountable to our hard won clean air and water protections, since they obviously don’t care about them.”


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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