EDF, Sierra Club Plan to Sue the Environmental Protection Agency to Protect People from Pollution Discharged by New Gas-Burning Power Plants

September 30, 2022
Sharyn Stein, EDF, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – September 30, 2022) Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club served a formal notice of intent on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday stating they will file a citizen suit against the agency under our nation’s clean air laws to protect people and communities from the dangerous pollution discharged by new gas-burning power plants. These facilities are a major source of nitrogen oxides — contaminants that contribute to deadly particles and smog — as well as climate-destabilizing pollution.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to review and revise new source performance standards — protections against pollution from new gas-burning power plants that must reflect the best system of emission reduction — every eight years. Despite its statutory responsibility, the agency has not updated its national emission standards for nitrogen oxides in over 16 years and last issued proposed standards for greenhouse gases in January 2014 and final standards in 2015. Meanwhile, new gas-burning power plants that do not reflect the best emission limits achievable are being built across the nation.

“Pollution from new gas plants adversely impacts community health and is fueling the climate crisis,” said EDF Lead Counsel Michael Panfil. “EPA’s outdated emission standards do not provide adequate safeguards against the extensive climate and air pollution discharged by new gas-burning power plants and must urgently be modernized. With people’s lives at stake, we can’t afford to waste any more time.”

“New gas-burning power plants represent a major threat to our families and communities, emitting pollution that keeps our children out of school due to asthma, increases our risk of harmful diseases, and drives the climate crisis,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Andres Restrepo. “For years, EPA has fallen short of its legal duty to update critical pollution standards for these sources. The agency must waste no time in rectifying this error by setting new and appropriately protective safeguards. Nothing less than our lives and our climate are at stake.”

EPA now has 60 days to respond to the notice before any lawsuit is filed.

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