Environmental and public-health groups filed suit this week against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allegedly failing to ensure that Los Angeles has an effective smog-reduction plan.

“The EPA is simply not doing its job to protect people and the environment from dangerous smog pollution,” said Camilla Getz, a law fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Regulators can’t turn their backs on the reality that smog pollution is a driver of catastrophic global warming and the loss of biodiversity, two of the greatest threats to human health and life on Earth as we know it.”

The EPA determined that the areas covered by the lawsuit have smog pollution at levels high enough to cause health problems and ecological harm, according to the complaint filed in Oakland federal court.

A message sent to the EPA seeking comment was not immediately answered.

Human exposure to ground-level ozone, also known as smog, can have life-threatening health impacts. The EPA has found that ozone exposure can not only kill people but cause respiratory problems such as increased asthma attacks and damaged airways, according to the center.

“Beyond the damage caused to the health of people living in areas with unsafe ozone levels there are also national and even global impacts,” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, illegal toxic threats director at the Center for Environmental Health, which is a plaintiff in the suit along with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately litigation is sometimes necessary to spur the EPA to take action to ensure we have clean, safe air.”

Ozone pollution also harms the natural environment. The EPA has found that the effects of ozone on plants can damage entire ecosystems and reduce biodiversity.

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