Enviros file suit against EPA

Environmentalists are making good on their threat to file a lawsuit that would force state and federal agencies to strengthen their efforts to clean up Atlanta's air.
The lawsuit, expected to be filed in federal court by Jan. 17, seeks to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reclassify the Atlanta region as being in a "severe non-attainment area." Atlanta is now categorized as a "serious non-attainment area."
The new classification would mean Atlanta industries would have to adopt tougher air pollution controls than what they use now, according to Wesley Woolf, an attorney with the Southern Environ-mental Law Center.
"There's a clear pattern here of the EPA looking the other way on the state's failures to make progress in cleaning up Atlanta's air," Woolf says. "That pattern has to be brought to an end."
The lawsuit comes less than two weeks after negotiations between environmentalists and Gov. Roy Barnes failed to reach a compromise on the region's 25-year, $36 billion transportation plan.
The suit filed against the EPA doesn't address the transportation plan, but another lawsuit that will is set to follow shortly, Woolf says.

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