Lawsuit Challenges EPA Delay in Reducing Air Pollution From Oil, Methane Gas Industries in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia
WASHINGTON – Two environmental groups today sued the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to ensure that adequate plans are in place to control pollution from the oil and methane gas industries in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, home to nearly 35 million people.
The three states are part of the “ozone transport region” created by Congress in 1990, as the states in the Northeast depend on one another to reduce ozone and its precursors.
“To reduce deadly ozone pollution in the northeast, every state must do its part to ensure that everyone can breathe cleaner air,” said Ashley Bruner, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we move away from fossil fuels, enforcing these clean air policies will bring great benefits to human health and the environment in this region, particularly in Pennsylvania, where Marcellus shale produces significant amounts of methane gas.”
The oil and methane gas industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of the volatile organic compounds that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog. Pennsylvania produced nearly 7 trillion cubic feet of methane gas in 2019, making it the second largest methane gas producer in the United States after Texas.
Ozone pollution can cause environmental damage and health problems such as asthma attacks and even death. Every year if ozone pollution continues to violate national standards, research suggests that up to 390,000 more asthma attacks will occur in children.
“We call on the Biden government to curb emissions from the fossil fuel industry,” said Kaya Sugerman of the Center for Environmental Health. “It is time that child and family health came first.”
The EPA has failed to ensure that adequate plans are in place to control pollution from the oil and methane gas industry in the New York-north New Jersey-Long Island area of New York, as well as in the states of New York, Pennsylvania and New York, Virginia.
The other areas in the ozone transport region are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.