DENVER— The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Environmental Health filed a formal notice today of their intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for its delay in fixing Colorado’s flawed plan to protect people, wildlife and natural areas from smog and acid rain.
“After this summer’s dangerous air pollution, it’s obvious we need cleaner air in Colorado and throughout the West right now, not whenever the EPA finally gets around to it,” said Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “People can’t just hold their breath until the EPA decides to do its job.”
Colorado’s plan to reduce smog and acid rain fails to account for pollution emitted in the state that ends up in downwind states like Utah and New Mexico. And it fails to address the fact that Colorado lacks the legal authority to control pollution from industrial agriculture, which is a major source of smog and acid rain.
“Every additional day of delay puts more children and families at risk for potentially deadly diseases,” said Kaya Sugerman, director of the Center for Environmental Health’s illegal toxic threats program. “We are going to fight EPA to protect everyone’s right to clean air.”
This notice follows a previous lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the EPA’s approval of Colorado’s plan to reduce smog and acid rain related to the 2015 ozone air-quality standards. The group challenged Colorado’s ozone plan because it failed to address air pollution from Colorado harming other states and from industrial agriculture.
Instead of defending that case in court the EPA asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the agency to take another look at Colorado’s plan in December of 2020. Since then, the agency has failed to set out a plan.
A recent study found that ammonia, which comes mainly from industrial agriculture and causes acid rain, doubled between 1984 and 2017 in rain and snow on the peaks of Colorado’s Front Range.
The Center is represented in the lawsuit by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.