Federal court orders EPA to implement 70 ppb smog rules. Pruitt has until April 30 to comply.

March 30, 2018

On March 12, 2018 a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to implement protections against smog set in 2015, the latest defeat in court by the agency as it rolls back environmental regulations according to a Reuters report.Scott Pruitt photo

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the agency led by Administrator Scott Pruitt needs to move ahead to carry out the 2015 Ozone Standards and designate areas in the country that do not meet them. The EPA has until April 30 to comply.

The 2015 standard lowered the national ambient air quality standard for ozone (a criteria pollutant) from 75 to 70 parts per billion.

Pruitt “has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty imposed” to designate areas of the country that do not meet the standards set for levels of ozone, the main component in smog, the court order said.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in an email: “We look forward to working with co-regulators to continue the designations process for the 2015 standards for ground-level ozone; we are evaluating the information provided by governors in February 2018 as part of that process.”

Pruitt last June initially intended to stall the Oct. 1 deadline by one year, but quickly reversed course the next day, without saying whether he would honor the Oct. 1 deadline.

Sixteen state attorneys general as well as a coalition of environmental groups sued to force Pruitt to meet the deadline and implement the smog standards.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of the AGs who sued the administration, said he will keep “a close eye” on whether EPA complies with the order.

What this means to you
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that EPA needs to move ahead to carry out the 2015 Ozone Standards and designate areas in the country that do not meet them. The EPA has until April 30 to comply.

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