It has not been a good year for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, politically speaking. The laundry list of petty corruption within his office (lavish and illegal spending on offices, residences, supplies, and raises for staff) is so long at this point that CNN has to update it every couple weeks.
It also hasn't been a great year for the EPA, legally speaking. State attorneys general sued the EPA and Pruitt in April, accusing them of ignoring the administration's duty to control methane emissions. Their attempt to delay gas guzzler fines was blocked by a federal judge that same month. In May, 17 states and D.C. filed a lawsuit in response to the agency's promise to rollback vehicle emissions standards. And then last week three conservation and public-health groups sued Pruitt and the EPA, claiming they have failed to address serious air pollution in 17 cities. You can read the latest legal filing below.
"Failure to Protect People"
The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, and Sierra Club filed the suit against Pruitt "for his failure to protect people, ecosystems and wildlife from dangerous exposure to sulfur oxides." The suit claims that the EPA has already determined sulfur oxide pollution "can aggravate existing heart disease, leading to increased hospitalizations and premature deaths," and enacted a plan to address sulfur oxide pollution and air quality standards.
The problem, according to the plaintiffs, is that the EPA and Pruitt have failed to follow through with mandatory action plans to curb the pollution in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. "The law requires that Pruitt and the Trump administration act to cut dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution from the air we breathe, but they have ignored those deadlines for protecting the public and are instead turning a blind eye to corporate polluters," said Sierra Club attorney Zachary Fabish. "Kids and families in some of our country's most vulnerable communities are getting sick while Pruitt violates the law by not acting, so we are taking him to court so that the safeguards that protect the public are enforced."
"Failure to Perform"
The groups are asking a federal court in California to "[d]eclare that the Administrator is in violation of the Clean Air Act with regard to his failure to perform each mandatory duty listed" in the suit, and "[i]ssue a mandatory injunction requiring the Administrator to perform his mandatory duties by certain dates."
You can read the full lawsuit below: