A coalition of environmental groups is alleging that California's Cap and Trade program violates the 1964 Civil Rights act.

The groups filed a complaint Friday against the California Air Resources Board charging that minority groups will be disproportionately harmed by the program that allows polluters to discharge more emissions by buying credits from other less-polluting industries.

The complaint alleges that African-Americans, Latinos and Asians are more likely to live in the low-income neighborhoods near refineries and power plants and will not receive the benefit of emission reductions intended under Cap and Trade.

The groups are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to intervene.

Ozone and particulate pollution emitted by industrial facilities can cause asthma and lead to heart disease.

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.

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