Federal judge whacks EPA for foot-dragging on toxic air pollution

This week, a federal judge administered a well-placed kick to the rear end of the U.S. EPA, blasting the agency for being “grossly delinquent” in regulating air pollutants as required by the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. While EPA has developed emissions regulations for only 15 of the 70 industries covered under the act, it has devoted considerable time to making discretionary rules, “many of which make existing regulations more congenial to industry, and several which since have been found unlawful,” wrote U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman. The ruling comes a week after a report from the Government Accountability Office finding the same basic negligence. Since the EPA apparently obeys its statutory obligations “only when forced by litigation to do so,” wrote Friedman (who is this dude?), he is forcing it: this spring he gave the agency until 2009 to make the regulations required by law, rejecting its request for a 2012 deadline. Ah … we love the smell of moral clarity in the morning.