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By Sierra Sun Times

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Environmental organizations file notice of intent to sue the EPA to hold states accountable

February 8, 2022 – Washington, DC – On Monday, a coalition of environmental organizations filed a notice of intent (NOI) to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it has failed to enforce the Regional Haze Rule as required by the Clean Air Act. The Regional Haze Rule is designed to protect our national parks and wilderness areas from fossil fuel and other sources of pollution that reduce visibility. Enforcing the Clean Air Act will restore the air in our country’s most iconic parks, and return those wild places to natural visibility.

Haze impacts 90 percent of our country’s national parks, with the same pollutants responsible for the widespread air pollution that harms public health, particularly in communities targeted by generations of systemic racism. Air pollution from burning fossil fuels and other sources worsens community health, drives up healthcare costs, and makes it harder for kids to learn and play and adults to work. The same sources of pollution that are harming our communities are also fueling the climate crisis. Strong regional haze plans will help us attain natural visibility in our national parks, improve public health, and reduce pollution that is changing our climate.

Thirty-nine states failed to submit their most recent regional haze plans to the EPA by the deadline of July 31, 2021. The EPA had until January 31, 2022 to issue a formal finding that these states have failed to submit the requisite Regional Haze state implementation plan (SIP), but the agency has not yet done so. The NOI filed by the coalition of environmental organizations asks the EPA to fulfill its mandatory obligation established by Congress.

Thirty-nine organizations joined the notice of intent to sue, including: 350 New Orleans, A Community Voice, Alliance for Affordable Energy, Appalachian Mountain Club, Association of Irritated Residents, Badlands Conservation Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Central California Asthma Collaborative, Coalition Against Death Alley, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, Cook Inletkeeper, Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, Earthworks, Environmental Defense Fund, Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP), Greater New Orleans Climate Reality Project, Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition, Gunnison Valley Climate Crisis Coalition, Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah), Healthy Gulf, Idaho Conservation League, Inclusive Louisiana, Justice & Beyond Louisiana, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Montana Environmental Information Center, National Parks Conservation Association, Piedmont Environmental Council, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP, Inc.), Sierra Club, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, To Nizhoni Ani, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Voyageurs Conservancy, Western Clean Energy Campaign, Western Environmental Law Center, and WildEarth Guardians.

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