With smoggy Southern California poised to miss a critical clean air goal next year, local regulators are now threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the federal government has made their job “impossible.”
The South Coast Air Quality Management District recently notified EPA Administrator Michael Regan that it intends to sue the agency for violating the Clean Air Act unless it agrees to adopt new regulatory strategies that would curtail pollution from federal sources, including ocean-faring cargo ships, trains, out-of-state trucks and airplanes.
The notice marks a tense new chapter in the district’s 20-year struggle to meet a federal standard set in 1997. If Southern California fails to meet those standards in 2023 — which is all but certain — federal authorities may impose severe penalties, such as the withholding of certain transportation funds.
Although state and local regulators have made considerable progress in curbing smog-forming emissions since 1980, that progress has leveled off in recent years. As a result, Southern California has sought repeated deadline extensions from the EPA.
Los Angeles Times, 10-05-22