Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Erin Fitzgerald,   

Press Release

EPA Takes Important Step Toward Science-based Policy, Environmental Justice

Earthjustice applauds EPA’s rethinking of particulate matter pollution rules.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will reconsider the recent National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter, or NAAQS, a “do nothing” rule the last administration published under the wire. Issued in December 2020, the rule left 2012 standards in place despite robust scientific evidence showing that these standards allow deadly levels of pollution. Joined by numerous partners, Earthjustice sued EPA in January on behalf of the American Lung Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

The following statement is from Seth Johnson, the Earthjustice attorney leading the case: 

“Particulate matter, or soot, pollution causes more than 100,000 premature deaths per year: that’s more than all traffic accidents and homicides combined. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by soot pollution. Soot pollution also blights views of scenic vistas and harms ecosystems. We applaud EPA for taking a good first step in addressing what many scientists consider the largest environmental risk factor in the country. We urge EPA to issue final emboldened science-based NAAQS for soot on an expeditious timeline, by summer 2022, to rein in industrial pollution. And we also urge the EPA to do the same for the vital ozone, or smog, NAAQS. Overburdened communities all over the country have the right to breathe clean air. Stronger soot and smog NAAQS are a long-overdue step toward accomplishing that goal.” 


Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.

'Biggest Win for Tax Fairness' in Decades: Progressives Cheer Reforms in IRA, Demand More

"While this bill establishes desperately needed changes to our tax laws and IRS funding, it is still a far cry from the systemic changes that we need in our society to rectify the hold the rich still have on every level of our economy."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Care Can't Wait': IRA a Good Start, Progressives Say, But More Is Needed

"Americans deserve a full loaf of bread," said health justice advocate Ady Barkan.

Kenny Stancil ·

'I'm Back': Fetterman Returns to Campaign Trail Following May Stroke

"I'm not only grateful to be alive, but also for the campaign we're building together," said the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania's open U.S. Senate seat.

Kenny Stancil ·

Because Climate Science 'Does Not Grade on a Curve,' Experts Says IRA Not Enough

"There is an urgent need for much more aggressive and far-reaching measures to prevent climate chaos," said the head of one progressive consumer advocacy group.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Game-Changer and Reason for Hope': House Passes Inflation Reduction Act

"We've got more to do," Rep. Pramila Jayapal said on the House floor. "But today, let's celebrate this massive investment for the people."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo