Victory In A.G. Schneiderman-Led Lawsuit Requires EPA To Propose New "Soot" Air Pollution Standards

WASHINGTONThe following statement can be attributed to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in response to his victory in a decision by the Honorable Judge Robert L. Wilkins today in United States District Court for the District of Columbia that directed the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose updated soot air pollution standards by June 7.

"I applaud the District Court's decision to require the EPA to take prompt action on standards to reduce soot pollution, and safeguard the health of the public. Clean air is not a luxury.  It is a basic public right, and standards that protect it are an absolute necessity.  Every day, air pollution puts the health of more than one-third of Americans at risk, including our most vulnerable – children, the elderly and the sick.  The Court clearly recognized that EPA can no longer allow these unacceptable risks to be ignored.” 

Attorney General Schneiderman, leading a coalition of 11 states, argued the case decided by the federal district court today. The decision directs the federal EPA to propose updated soot air pollution standards. The Court ruling today granted a preliminary injunction directing the EPA to propose updated soot air pollution standards.  The final order in the matter is expected to be issued by the Court tomorrow. Today's decision follows a lawsuit that Attorney General Schneiderman's coalition filed in February 2012 to compel the EPA to promptly revise national air quality standards for fine particulate matter ("PM2.5"), commonly referred to as "soot," and other forms of particulate matter.  The coalition took legal action after the EPA failed to meet an October 2011 deadline for revising the existing lax standards, as required by the federal Clean Air Act. 

The American Lung Association and the National Parks Conservation Association joined Attorney General Schneiderman's coalition as co-plaintiffs in the case. 

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