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Environmental Groups Sue EPA

Industry associations, which have been critical of the EPA's more stringent ozone smog standard under the Clean Air Act, aren't the only groups upset at the agency. So are environmental organizations. Two of them, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), have filed suit against EPA "for failing to maintain vital Clean Air Act requirements to protect public health" in 3,000 U.S. counties previously found to be violating the ozone standard.

In June the EPA announced its plan to withdraw the "nonattainment" classification for the 3,000 counties because recent monitoring shows they're no longer in violation of the current standard. But the counties would most likely be in violation under the new, stricter standard slated to take effect during the next two years, argue EDF and NRDC. The two groups oppose the nonattainment classification for the 3,000 counties because, they explain, "in the lag time before the application of the new regulation, the counties will not be responsible for maintaining or lowering current ozone smog levels."

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