To stop continued tainting of central Ariz., northern Cal. air, groups call on court

Like central and southern California, northern California and central Arizona suffer from and struggle with the effects of bad air.

Part of the struggle or challenge entails cleaning the bad air in the latter two regions up. By cleaning up what this means is meeting national ambient air health standards for both smog (ozone) and soot (fine particulates).

The case heads to court

People deserve to breathe clean air. What’s sad, in many parts of the world, including in the United States, people are breathing unhealthy air. And, when and where folks don’t have clean, healthy air to breathe, there is no question that conditions in this regard warrant correcting, and if in this regard that means turning to the courts, then so be it.

This is exactly what has happened in Maricopa County, Arizona and in Solano and Yolo counties in California as it pertains to smog and soot mitigation.

The Center for Biological Diversity (Center) in its Mar. 5, 2019 “Lawsuit Launched to Force Trump EPA to Curb Asthma-causing Air Pollution in Phoenix, Northern California” press release provides detail.

“The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Environmental Health filed a formal notice of intent today [Mar. 5, 2019] to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to address harmful ozone and soot pollution affecting more than 1.5 million people in Arizona and Northern California.

Phoenix, Arizona downtown

“The EPA is required to ensure steps are being taken to reduce dangerous levels of these air pollutants, which harm public health and wildlife. But the agency has failed to develop air-quality plans to curb soot from fine particulate matter pollution in California’s Yolo-Solano region. The EPA has also failed to act on California’s plan to reduce soot in Plumas County and Arizona’s plans that address smog from ozone pollution in the Phoenix metro area.

“Even after a decade, smog levels in the Phoenix area still exceed the 2008 science-based standard, with the worst pollution found in Scottsdale. Plumas County also had pollution above the standing in 2018, and the [sic] Yolo-Solano suffered soot pollution at more than twice the level allowed.

“‘The Trump EPA is sentencing thousands of Arizona and California residents to more serious breathing and heart problems,’ said Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. ‘It’s disgusting that this pollution-friendly administration believes it’s fine for people to breathe filthy, unhealthy air.’”

The Center also in the release in essence went on to indicate that when there is failure by states “to submit air-quality plans” of their own “to address national air-quality standards,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is required to develop ozone pollution- and particulate matter-reduction plans for those states.

The Center then went on to explain that both types of pollutants – ozone and particulate matter – affect health in profound ways. “Exposure to ozone and particulate matter can lead to decreased birth weight and premature death, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, reduced lung function and vision impairment.

Yolo County, California

“‘Every additional day of delay puts more Americans at risk for deadly diseases,’ said Caroline Cox, research director at the Center for Environmental Health. ‘We’re going to fight the Trump administration to ensure clean air for all American children and families.’”

In concluding and in no uncertain terms, the Center in the press release insisted, “[a]n EPA study found that Clean Air Act programs to reduce fine particle matter and ozone pollution prevented more than 160,000 deaths, 130,000 heart attacks and 1.7 million asthma attacks in 2010 alone. For every dollar spent, Americans have received $30 in economic benefits in return.”

It remains to be seen what the outcome of the aforementioned lawsuit will be.

Images: DGustafson (upper); David Feliz (lower)

– Alan Kandel