The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Robert Ukeiley, Center for Biological Diversity
Caroline Cox, Center for Environmental Health,

Lawsuit Challenges Trump EPA's Failure to Protect California's Ventura County From Deadly Smog


The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Environmental Health filed a lawsuit today against the Trump administration for failing to finalize plans to curtail dangerous smog in Ventura County, Calif.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unlawfully delayed a decision on the county's plan to reduce harmful ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma, cardiovascular problems and premature deaths.

"The EPA's foot-dragging is choking Ventura County's most vulnerable residents," said Caroline Cox, research director at the Center for Environmental Health. "If we're going to guarantee healthy, clean air for everyone in the country, the EPA must enforce the Clean Air Act."

Ventura County, which is home to more than 800,000 people, has failed to meet federal smog standards for decades.

According to the American Lung Association, Ventura County's chronic smog pollution places 12,317 children at risk for pediatric asthma, 43,418 people at risk for cardiovascular diseases, and 30,511 at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Smog pollution also harms wildlife and ecosystems. The region's ponderosa pines are particularly sensitive to smog pollution, which can stunt growth, interfere with photosynthesis and increase risks from disease, weather and insects, according to the EPA.

Ponderosa pine habitat is critical for several species, including endangered California condors.

"Cleaning up Ventura County's dangerously smoggy air is a legal requirement that even the fossil fuel addicts running Trump's EPA can't ignore," said Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "It shouldn't take legal action to make sure vulnerable people and wildlife are protected from harmful air pollution. That's why we have the Clean Air Act, and we'll keep using it to force this administration to obey federal law."

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.

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