Federal Court Defeats Trump & Rules To Protect Key Obama Legacy


Since Trump’s first day in office, he’s been on a mission to weaken environmental regulations so that wealthy corporations could operate unchecked regardless of what their efforts cost the planet we live on. In a ruling on Friday, the courts were finally forced to intervene after air quality standards showed signs of being harmed.

An Obama-era rule around air pollution standards has been fought bitterly in court with no president in the White House willing to stand up for the health and safety of the American people over rich, corporate greed. In the EPA one coal lobbyist after another has wreaked havoc on the environment. On Friday, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that standards for protecting the air quality must be raised.

Seth Johnson, an attorney from EarthJustice who argued the case, said:

‘The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set standards that protect forests against damage from smog. EPA didn’t do that here. It must go back and fix its mistakes so cherished natural spaces like national parks can thrive. Unfortunately, the Court also said the ozone rules we have are enough to protect public health, even though these standards allow levels of smog EPA agrees are harmful. But this isn’t the end of the road. We’ll keep fighting for this vital health protection to be as effective as it needs to be.’

While the Amazon burns, polar ice caps melt, and temperatures rise, it is long past time that protecting the environment be a top priority. With Trump in the White House, that priority has long since been abandoned. With the ruling from the federal court, standards will have to be set in place.

‘The Court’s opinion is nuanced and especially important now. The ruling requires EPA to follow the science and to make the tough decisions necessary to protect forests and natural landscapes from ozone damage to plant leaves and to growing trees. The court also entirely rejected polluters’ arguments that the standards provide too much protection. Agreeing with health and environmental advocates, the court ruled that “the Clean Air Act prohibits EPA” from weakening public health and welfare protections based on other considerations, as polluters and their allies have been urging EPA to do.’

Despite the victory, EarthJustice warns that the science around the negative health effects of air pollution are still being ignored. The court ruled that the current health standards put in place are acceptable despite scientists and health advocates’ warnings.

‘Unfortunately, the court also ruled that the health standards as they are meet the legal requirements to protect public health. Based on the most recent science, advocates believe the ozone standards are not stringent enough.

‘Meanwhile, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2019 report finds that ozone pollution worsened over past years, as EPA has begun its review of the smog standards. A recent study found that exposure to ambient air pollutants, including ozone, was correlated with increased risk and progression of emphysema, even among non-smokers. The Trump/Wheeler EPA is known for dismissing science to weaken public health and environmental protections, but this decision confirms that the administration cannot legally do that in its forthcoming review.’


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