Environmental Protection Agency Failed To Enforce Vital Clean Air Protections

Sierra Club Warns EPA over Sulfur Pollution Enforcement Failures; Future Challenges Likely

WASHINGTON, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—February 10, 2014. Today the Sierra Club delivered a notice of intent to file a legal challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), citing failures to protect clean air and public health by not enforcing critical sulfur pollution components of the Clean Air Act. This is the latest effort by the Sierra Club to hold EPA accountable for finalizing and enforcing critical air and water protections.

To read the notice letter visit http://sc.org/1eJU3AO.

The EPA failed its responsibility to hold accountable those states that have not yet submitted required plans for dealing with clean air standards for toxic sulfur dioxide pollution. Despite a June 2013 deadline, 30 states have not submitted implementation plans to the EPA to comply with the 2010 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for sulfur dioxide. 

Nearly all the sulfur dioxide emitted in the U.S. comes from coal plants, smelters, and refineries.  Exposure to sulfur pollution for as little as five minutes can trigger asthma attacks and cause other respiratory problems; exposure can also lead to lung disease and heart attacks. 

“Failing to enforce important EPA safeguards against sulfur pollution undermines the enormous clean air benefits of these critical protections and prolongs the toxic threat of sulfur pollution for families across our country,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the SIerra Club Beyond Coal campaign. “The Sierra Club will continue to hold the EPA to its obligations to protect Americans from dangerous pollution, whether it’s sulfur, smog, carbon, coal ash or toxic water pollution.”

The Clean Air Act requires states to submit plans for how they will achieve the new safeguards within three years of the announcement for the new protections. States were required to submit implementation plans for the 2010 sulfur pollution protections by June 2, 2013. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA was required to issue a finding of whether a state has submitted a plan by December 2, 2013, or six months following the submission deadline. Since December 2, the great majority of states have not yet submitted the required plans, and EPA has failed to issue a single “finding of failure to submit.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Source: sierraclub.org