Groups sue EPA over ozone standards

Source: Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

EPA is facing at least three more lawsuits over its handling of attainment designations for its 2015 ground-level ozone standard.

The suits, all filed late last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenge the round of designations published by the agency in early June.

One was brought by the Sierra Club; another by the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center and Respiratory Health Association; and the third by the city of Sunland Park, N.M., and Familias Unidas del Chamizal, an El Paso, Texas, advocacy group.

That last suit seeks to vacate EPA’s decision to deem El Paso County as “attainment/unclassifiable” for the 70 parts per billion standard. While the other two suits do not spell out the specific designations that are being challenged, the Sierra Club expects to target EPA’s decisions for El Paso County; Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Waukesha and Washington counties in southeastern Wisconsin; Jefferson County in eastern Missouri; Ottawa County in western Michigan; and part of Weld County in northeastern Colorado, senior attorney Josh Berman said in an email.

Judith Nemes, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said this morning the group will challenge attainment designations for the Chicago area, the Milwaukee area and the St. Louis area but would name specifics in a court filing early next month.

Ozone, the main ingredient in smog, is a lung irritant tied to asthma attacks in children and worsened breathing problems in adults with emphysema and other chronic respiratory ailments.

Three other suits challenging some of the same designations were also filed late last week (Greenwire, Aug. 3).