Friday, February 6, 2009

South Coast Air Quality Management v. EPA

Feb 6: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 08-1030. The South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, and Friends of the Earth challenged the final rule promulgated by U.S. EPA that extended the deadline for the EPA to establish more stringent emissions standards for large marine diesel engines. The Appeals Court ruled that "EPA reasonably implemented the Clean Air Act (CAA) in extending the deadline, wherefore we deny the petitions for review."

In its conclusion the Appeals Court said, "In view of the issues remaining for the EPA to resolve before it sets Tier 2 standards, we hold the Extension Rule deferring the deadline for promulgating a regulation is neither arbitrary nor unlawful. At the oral argument the petitioners allowed that they would not be objecting to the new deadline if they could be sure the EPA would adhere to it. The EPA gives that assurance in the Extension Rule, id. at 68,520/2, and the record, which demonstrates the EPA has made progress toward promulgating Tier 2 standards, see id. at 69,522, suggests no reason to doubt it. We rely upon that assurance in holding that the Rule is lawful. In sum, because the Rule commits the EPA to proceed with the two-tiered approach approved in Bluewater Network, and to resolve outstanding issues and set standards no later than December 17, 2009, the petitions for review are denied."

Access the complete opinion (click here). Access EPA's diesel, boats and ships website for more information (click here).