Curtis Tate Published

Groups Sue EPA Over Missed Deadline On Ethylene Oxide Standards

Participants in a public hearing sit and listen to officials with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection held a public hearing Thursday to discuss the findings of a final report on ethylene oxide emissions.
Caroline MacGregor/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Environmental groups are taking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to court over emissions of a cancer-causing chemical in the Kanawha Valley.

The law firm Earthjustice has sued EPA Administrator Michael Regan because the agency missed a 2022 deadline to issue new standards for facilities that emit ethylene oxide.

Ethylene oxide is a flammable, colorless gas that’s used to manufacture other chemicals.

It is carcinogenic, even when people are exposed to it in small quantities.

Adam Kron, an attorney for Earthjustice who’s based in Washington, said the purpose of the lawsuit is to force the EPA to lock in a new rule by the end of next year.

“Rules that don’t have court-ordered deadlines often are the ones that tend to get pushed,” he said.

The federal Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review and revise emissions standards for hazardous pollutants such as ethylene oxide every eight years.