(CN) – A coalition of environmentalists claims in court that the Environmental Protection Agency has utterly failed to use the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse gas emissions from airliners and other aircraft.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Federal Court, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth say they petitioned the EPA in 2007, asking it to declare carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft engines a public health risk and to regulate them accordingly.
But they claim the request met with unreasonable delays and eight years later, nothing has been done.
The plaintiffs say this is particularly irksome in light of a July 2011 ruling by a federal judge in Washington who held the EPA “has a compulsory duty to issue an endangerment finding determining whether emissions of greenhouse gases from aircraft engines cause or contribute to pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”
In response, the agency did issue a “proposed finding,” but “EPA has yet to issue a final endangerment finding or promulgate regulations regarding aircraft emissions,” the complaint says.
As it stands now, the environmentalists say, the earliest a final rule regulating aircraft emissions would go into effect is 2023 and that’s assuming the agency acted in earnest and published a proposed regulations next year.
“This constitutes unreasonable delay in EPA’s duty to issue an endangerment finding and promulgate regulations regarding greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft,” the complaint says.
The plaintiffs seek declaratory relief and a court order compelling the EPA to issue its final determination regarding the threat posed to human health from aircraft emissions, and that if those emissions are found to endanger public health and welfare, that the agency must propose standards to curb those emissions within 30 days of the end of the case.
They are represented by Martin Wagner of Earthjustice in San Francisco, and Vera Pardee, of the Center for Biological Diversity in Oakland.
Representatives of the EPA could not immediately be reached for comment.
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