SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The EPA is dragging its heels on determining whether states are complying with federal air quality standards, WildEarth Guardians claims in Federal Court. The suit focuses on the harm caused by one state to another in failing to control air pollution and ozone depletion.
This is not unique. Standard operating procedure has been foot dragging for the EPA across the board,” said plaintiff’s lead attorney James Tutchton. States that have yet to submit their plans include California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Tutchton attributes the EPA’s “slow and stodgy” efforts to the influence of special interest groups, the regulatory burdens and costs to states that do implement stricter air quality standards, and the effects the standards would have on big industry.”
The EPA was given 2 years to review states’ plans to implement and enforce Clean Air Act standards on air pollution and ozone levels, and to avoid harming air quality in neighboring states. States were to develop their own policies for implementing federal standards.
Environmental groups expressed hope that environmental policies will change under the administration of President Barack Obama.
The lawyer for WildEarth Guardians said he is “guardedly optimistic that the new presidential administration will believe in the EPA’s mission enough to ensure that it is efficient in its operation.”
Tuchton added that the initial reports on air quality are critical to reducing pollution levels.
“It’s like if the teacher fails to get the class its grades on time,” he said, “how will they know what they need to improve?”