EPA is conducting tests on human exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The American Tradition Institute, a conservative legal action group, has field suit to block the testing (ATI v. EPA) in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia. ATI is also seeking an immediate restraining order prohibiting the continuance of the testing pending trial on the merits.
The Department of Justice, on behalf of EPA, is resisting ATI's efforts to block the testing. DOJ says, among other things, that test participants are fully informed of the risk of inhaling the PM2.5 used in the tests and that the tests are properly designed to enable EPA to develop rules to protect people against too much PM 2.5 exposure.
The court is scheduled to hear argument today on ATI's request for a restraining order. DOJ contends that ATI filed its suit in the wrong court, saying that the suit should have been filed either in Washington DC (home of EPA) or in North Carolina (where the tesing is taking place). If the court agrees with DOJ, the restraining order request could be denied on the basis of incorrect venue alone.