EPA Rule Implementation
Decision reversed on August 2, 2017
On August 2, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the agency’s June announcement to delay implementation of a 2015 Obama-era ozone regulation for another year. The reversal came one day after 15 states and DC filed a lawsuit against the EPA Administrator over the delay. While the reversal was a win for health and environmental advocates, the EPA noted that it “may take future action to use its delay authority and all other authority legally available to the Agency to ensure that its designations are founded on sound policy and the best available information.” LEARN MORE
The 2015 regulation set a new national standard for ozone, a smog-causing pollutant formed by chemicals from smokestacks and tailpipes that mixes with the air we breathe, reducing the acceptable amount from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. Ozone has been linked to childhood asthma, lower infant birth weights, and lung disease and exacerbates asthma attacks. While the rule is one of the most expensive regulations in history, with an estimated annual cost of $1.4 billion, the EPA estimated that those “costs would be vastly outweighed by annual economic benefits of $2.9 billion to $5.9 billion because of fewer premature deaths, missed days of school and work, asthma attacks and emergency room visits.” Though the agency examined nearly 2,300 scientific studies, considered more than 430,000 public comments and held three public hearings while preparing the standard, Pruitt’s delay relied on a provision of the Clean Air Act allowing the agency to delay standards for up to a year if they have “insufficient information.” Earthjustice attorney Seth Johnson argues that “the EPA’s hasty retreat shows that public health and environmental organizations and 16 states across the country were right: the agency had no legal basis for delaying implementation of the 2015 smog standard.” LEARN MORE
- Sierra Club – the nation’s largest environmental preservation organization; focuses include mitigating global warming and opposing coal; plaintiff in lawsuit over EPA’s delay
- American Lung Association – a voluntary health organization working to improve lung health and prevent lung disease through education, advocacy, and research; plaintiff in delay lawsuit
- Earthjustice – a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to environmental issues; represented environmental and public health organizations in lawsuit over EPA’s delay
This brief was compiled by Conor Downey. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.