The letter gives the EPA 60 days to take action, or else the groups will sue. They want the EPA to identify communities that have unsafe levels of ozone pollution, as they’re required to under the Clean Air Act.
John Walke is the director of air for the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit.
“We are suing to make sure the Obama Administration does carry out the smog standards that were adopted in 2008 to ensure that clean up measures will be put in place,” he said.
Walke says there’s one way for the EPA to avoid being sued:
“At the end of that 60-day period the administration could have announced concrete steps and issued demands to the states to begin the process to clean up smog pollution,” he said.
But if they don’t, the groups will file a suit in federal court and try to get the EPA put on a court-enforced schedule to order pollution reductions.
The EPA missed a deadline in March to adopt National Ambient Air Quality standards as required under the 2008 Bush-era ozone rules. Last month, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the agency was abandoning a draft standard until at least 2013.
According to an EPA review of air quality data over the past three years, 52 metropolitan areas wouldn’t be able to meet the new standard. One of the areas on the list is the Cincinnati metro area, including parts of Northern Kentucky.