A protest is not always enough. Today, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LaBB) joined with eight other groups to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The environmental advocates contend that the regulatory agency missed legal deadlines to review pollution risks and implement new safeguards.
"Here in Louisiana we bear an unequal burden of toxic pollution, yet our state regulatory agencies are asleep at the wheel," said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the LaBB in a statement. "If the EPA doesn't protect us then we are destined for chemical exposure and illness.”
The Clean Air Act requires that the EPA review risks faced by residents living near “major industrial sources” and make any necessary changes to guarantee a margin of safety for these citizens. A statement from LaBB contends that the “EPA is years overdue in fulfilling its legal duties to protect people from 21 industrial sources of toxic air pollution, including chemical companies, metals and plastics operations, and municipal landfills, including some sources located in Louisiana.”
The suit was filed by the national action group Earthjustice as California Communities vs. McCarthy. The other plaintiffs are California Communities vs. Toxics, Californians Against Waste Coalition, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Del Amo Action Committee, Desert Citizens Against Pollution, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Neighbors for Clean Air, and Ohio Citizen Action.
Rolfes told NoDef that she hopes the case serves as alarm clock resulting in a quick implementation of change rather than a protracted court battle.
"After years of delay, the EPA finally needs to do its job and protect people in Louisiana from toxic air pollution by setting up-to-date safeguards for public health," said Rolfes. "That's why we are working to make sure that people in Louisiana get the basic protection for clean air that every person deserves.”
The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.