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American Lung Association v. Environmental Protection Agency

134 F.3d 388 (1998)

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American Lung Association v. Environmental Protection Agency

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

134 F.3d 388 (1998)

Facts

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) was tasked by the Clean Air Act with setting national ambient-air-quality standards for certain pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, to protect public health. The EPA contemplated whether it should strengthen the national ambient-air-quality standards for sulfur dioxide. Evidence gathered during the process showed that thousands of asthmatics in the United States were exposed to potentially harmful bursts of sulfur dioxide each year, possibly requiring the asthmatics to alter their activities, use medication, or be hospitalized. In its final decision, the EPA refused to revise the standards, finding that the sulfur dioxide bursts were not a public health problem because they were irregular and localized to specific communities. The EPA did not explain why the irregular and localized bursts were not public health problems in the affected communities. The American Lung Association and the Environmental Defense Fund (plaintiffs) challenged the EPA’s final decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tatel, J.)

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