“Time is up” – EPA facing threat of citizens’ lawsuit seeking cap on climate pollution

By Dana Drugmand

US regulators are breaking the law by failing to set a national cap on climate pollution, endangering human health and the environment, according to a consortium threatening to file a citizens’ lawsuit against the government to force “stronger, faster actions to address the climate emergency.”

The states of Oregon and Minnesota, along with the San Carlos Apache Tribe and climate advocacy organizations 350.org and the Center for Biological Diversity, said this week that they plan to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding the agency respond to a 2009 petition for regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

In a letter addressed to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the consortium pointed out that the EPA has long known that climate changes are occurring that are harming human health and that the “effects will only worsen over time” without regulatory action.

“In the nearly fourteen years since the petition has been pending before EPA, the climate crisis has become far more dire, devastating lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems,” the letter states.

The letter references a new “state of the climate report” from scientists that warns: “Life on planet Earth is under siege. We are now in an uncharted territory” and that “time is up.” And the letter quotes the UN Secretary General warning of an approaching “climate time-bomb.”

The EPA has 180 days to respond to the letter, called a notice of intent to sue, after which time a lawsuit would be filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia.