CBF and NGOs Sue EPA Over Attempt to Restrict States’ Clean Air Efforts

(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today joined a coalition of NGOs filing suit in Federal Circuit Court in Washington, D.C. to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to withdraw the Clean Air Act waiver previously granted to California’s Clean Cars program.

Four states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as the District of Columbia—have adopted elements of California’s program, which has reduced both nitrogen and greenhouse gas pollution. Roughly one-third of the nitrogen pollution in the Bay comes from the air, much of it in the form of nitrogen oxides released from power plants and vehicle exhaust. Pollution from cars is especially damaging to local rivers and streams because it does not travel as far as pollution emitted higher in the atmosphere and falls to the ground and water within the Bay watershed.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency recognized the critical importance of limiting air pollution to clean up the Bay, and the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint includes a specific goal to curb air emissions. The problem is, to meet the goal by 2025, the agency is relying on many of the same clean air laws and regulations that the Trump administration is currently trying to weaken or repeal—including efforts to limit emissions from cars and trucks.

CBF joins a coalition of NGOs in this litigation, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Communities for a Better Environment, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

After the suit was filed, CBF Staff Litigation Attorney Ariel Solaski issued this statement:

“EPA’s actions threaten the progress of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and the health of local rivers, streams, and the Bay by undermining programs that reduce nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. This attempt to deprive states’ authority to protect their residents and natural resources from the damage caused by pollution violates EPA’s duties to protect public health and the environment under the Clean Air Act.”

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