For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brian Willis, 202.253.7486,

Courts Continue to Pressure Scott Pruitt to Do His Job, Protect Communities from Dangerous Smog Pollution

WASHINGTON - Today, the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York and District of Maryland handed down separate decisions holding EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt accountable for reducing dangerous smog pollution that travels across state lines and impedes downwind states’ ability to meet health-based national air quality standards.

After more than two years of delay by Pruitt in addressing pollution reduction obligations for Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, a Southern District of New York, judge ordered the EPA to comply with the Clean Air Act’s requirement to address dangerous smog pollution from these states that is reaching New York and Connecticut and and putting local residents’ health at risk. In the District of Maryland, a judge also ordered EPA to respond to the state of Maryland’s petition to address pollution from 36 coal units in five upwind states - Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia - that crosses into Maryland and impairs Maryland’s air quality.  

These separate court decisions add pressure on the EPA Administrator to enforce “good neighbor” provisions in the Clean Air Act, which have up to this point been chronically unresolved.

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

“These two court decisions send a clear message - EPA can’t just sit on the sidelines when states are suffering from air pollution coming across their borders, even if that’s what Scott Pruitt’s polluter cronies want. It’s becoming more and more obvious that the only way to get scandal ridden Scott Pruitt to do his job is for the court to order him to do it. It’s patently unfair that states that are trying to abide by the Clean Air Act and keep their residents’ air safe should have to suffer from other states’ dirty smog pollution -- but that is exactly what Pruitt was allowing to happen.

“It’s no secret that Pruitt bends over backwards to appease corporate polluters who are giving him favors and marching orders, all while he ignores the communities whose air and water he is supposed to be protecting. Today’s decisions should remind him of who he is supposed to work for - and it isn’t millionaire coal executives. Every community deserves clean air, and today, the courts bought them one step closer to getting it.”


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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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