Federal appeals court rules against EPA, affirms Clean Air Act protections

"EPA can no longer look the other way while states unlawfully exempt industrial polluters from vitally important air pollution control requirements.”

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A federal court of appeals blocked the Trump administration from allowing sources to disregard clean air regulations and ruled to protect the public’s ability to petition the Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to reviewing such “applicable requirements.” The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals “rejected EPA’s position as in violation of the plain language of the agency’s clean air regulations.”

The EPA tried to bypass a Clean Air Act regulation that gives members of the public the authority to federal intervention if states allow air pollution sources to increase operations without going through a “new source review” and installing up-to-date air pollution controls, Sierra Club reported. The court’s decision was based on the 1,320 MW coal-fired Hunter power plant in Utah, a case brought against the EPA by the Sierra Club for trying to change the implementation of the Clean Air Act across the country.

“We agree with the Sierra Club’s interpretation,” the court wrote. “The regulatory definition of ‘applicable requirements’ includes all requirements in the state’s implementation plan, and Utah’s implementation plan broadly requires compliance with the Clean Air Act.”

According to Sierra Club, the three-judge panel “unanimously rejected EPA’s position.”

“Clean air is important to all Americans,” Keri N. Powell, the attorney who argued the case for Sierra Club, said. “The Court’s unanimous decision confirms that federal regulators must make certain that dirty industries like the coal industry are complying with the Clean Air Act. EPA can no longer look the other way while states unlawfully exempt industrial polluters from vitally important air pollution control requirements.”

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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.

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