Environmentalists Sue Bush Administration

A coalition of environmental organizations announced today it is suing the Bush Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its continued failure to take action on global warming. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to limit all air pollution from automobiles that "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." Despite the growing impacts of global warming on human health and the environment, the EPA has steadfastly refused to control global warming pollution.

"The EPA's stalling tactics are doing real damage in the fight against global warming," said Joseph Mendelson, Legal Director of the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA), one of the plaintiffs. "It's time for the Bush Administration to get its head out of the sand."

Today's legal action was filed by CTA, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. The lawsuit comes more than three years after environmentalists submitted a formal petition to the agency demanding that it abide by the Clean Air Act and protect public health by regulating global warming pollutants. After delaying for over a year, the EPA opened a public comment period that ended in May 2001. During the comment period the agency received 50,000 comments, the vast majority of which strongly agreed that global warming should be addressed under the Clean Air Act. Yet, a year and a half later, the EPA still has refused to answer the groups' petition and failed to act.

Global warming gases have already been linked to unstable weather patterns, floods, droughts, and outbreaks of tropical diseases such as West Nile Virus. If left unchecked, global warming will cause rising sea levels, the melting of the polar icecaps, and a host of other environmental problems that are beginning to seriously affect the lives of virtually every American.

The Bush Administration has shown a consistent reluctance to tackle global warming. In March 2001, President Bush drew widespread criticism for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and has since failed to offer any alternative. The administration's clean air plan, announced in February, ignores global warming pollution entirely.

"Under the Bush Administration, the EPA has found time to weaken or threaten many crucial environmental protections that Americans take for granted. But it can't find time to get serious about the most pressing environmental problem in the world's history," said David Bookbinder senior attorney with the Sierra Club. "It's a shame that we have to sue the government's lead environmental agency to take action on global warming," Bookbinder concluded.

"The Bush Administration is asking for five more years of studies while the world is warming and regular people will pay the price," said Gary Cook climate coordinator for Greenpeace. "We are now asking the courts to intervene and order the EPA to enforce U.S. environmental laws and take action to address global warming," added Cook.