Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 18, 2017

Contact: Diana Dascalu-Joffe, (720) 925-2521,

Lawsuit Targets Trump Administration's Failure to Limit Deadly Ozone Pollution

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to enact nationwide standards limiting deadly ozone pollution.

The Trump administration violated the Clean Air Act when the EPA missed an Oct. 1 deadline to designate major metropolitan areas and rural regions across the country as out of compliance with clean air regulations. That designation requires states to take additional steps to reduce ozone pollution and can free up federal funds to help them.

“Delaying cuts to deadly ozone pollution puts polluters’ profits over human lives,” said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, a senior attorney at the Center. “The Trump administration’s willful neglect endangers the most vulnerable people in America, including children struggling with asthma. We’re confident that courts will step in and stop this immoral and illegal failure to protect the air we breathe.”

Ozone, commonly known as smog, stems from tailpipes, smokestacks and industrial activities like oil and gas fracking. The EPA strengthened its ozone standard following an exhaustive scientific review in 2015. According to the agency’s own estimates, meeting the standard will prevent hundreds of deaths, as well as 230,000 asthma attacks in children, each year.

Among the non-attainment areas are poorly managed public lands choked by oil and gas development, such as Utah’s Uintah Basin. The rural region has air quality as bad as Los Angeles due to decades of fossil fuel development.

In August, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said he would finalize designations for non-attainment areas, including Uintah Basin and metro areas from coast to coast. When he failed to do so on time, public health and conservation groups, filed suit to enforce the Oct. 1 deadline.

With that deadline passed and hundreds of human lives at stake, several states have also sued the EPA. Represented by the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice, the Center joined litigation with other public-health and conservation organizations.

Read about the Center for Biological Diversity's numerous other lawsuits against the Trump administration.         

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

More press releases