Air-quality activists filed three lawsuits Thursday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, claiming federal officials are neglecting cleanup plans for the San Joaquin Valley.
Two suits were filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, challenging EPA's approval of the Valley's cleanup plan for the one-hour ozone standard. Such appeals of approved air plans go directly to the appellate court.
Activists say officials failed to analyze the vehicle rules accounting for the biggest ozone reductions. Now the Valley, one of the nation's most-polluted air basins, is on the verge of missing the Nov. 15 cleanup deadline for the standard.
"We are suing EPA today because EPA has approved a plan that has failed," said Salvador Partida of the Committee for a Better Arvin, representing a city that frequently violates the ozone threshold. "The Valley will not meet the 2010 deadline."
The third activist lawsuit asks U.S. District Court in Oakland to force EPA to make a decision on the Valley's plan to stop violations of the eight-hour or daylong ozone standard. Activists say EPA should have accepted or rejected the plan a year ago.
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