Arguing the agency “failed to do its duty to force tougher pollution controls,” the Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Sierra Club claims that the EPA failed to switch the region’s ozone violation status from “serious” to “severe”, and violated a 1997 federal standard by not doing so. The change in status would mean that mandatory pollution controls would have taken effect in North Texas, according to the Dallas News.
“While we recognize that the Environmental Protection Agency has many priorities, nothing is more important than protecting our children from the dangers of smog and the asthma attacks that it can trigger,” said Neil Carman, Sierra Club’s Lone Star Clean air director.
This is not the first time the Sierra Club has filed such a lawsuit. March 2014, the Sierra Club went to a federal judge in California claiming the head of the EPA was violating the Clean Air Act by failing to comply with federal air quality regulations, reports Law360. Adding, this came just a month after the environmental group accused the EPA of failing to preserve air quality in Missouri, New York, and Kentucky.
Forbes’ environmental contributor, Larry Bell, argues lawsuits like this are common and are often rigged. Bell calls lawsuits like this “Sue and Settle” or “Friendly Lawsuits”.
He describes these lawsuits as “cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement.”
He added that these deals are made “behind closed doors” and designed so that “the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action they and the litigants both want.”
Bell reports that American taxpayers are, “put on the hook for the legal fees of both colluding parties.”
Not only this, but a 2011 GAO report shows environmental groups get millions for EPA lawsuits. Between 1995 and 2012, the Sierra Club made $966,687 from EPA lawsuits. In Bell’s 2013 report, he claims, “most of this was paid to environmental attorney in connection to lawsuits filed under the Clean Air Act.”
Follow Patrick Kane on Twitter @PatVKane.