Thursday, June 30, 2011

NRDC v. South Coast Air Quality Management District

Jun 29: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 09-57064. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups (collectively, the NRDC) appeal the district court dismissal of their claims against the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The case focuses on the SCAQMD new source review permit program included in its Regulation XIII, most of which the U.S. EPA has approved and incorporated into the State Implementation Plan (SIP).
    The Appeals Court affirmed the decision of the district court and said, "The district court did not err in determining it lacked jurisdiction over the alleged violations of Clean Air Act § 173(c). Nor did it err in concluding that the NRDC otherwise failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted: Regulation XIII does not contain validity requirements for SCAQMD's internal offsets, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules do not require SCAQMD to use a tracking system."
    The Appeals Court said further, "The EPA rule approving the SIP does contain a reference to a tracking system in its preamble. . . Yet we are not to consider such references unless the regulation itself is ambiguous. . . There is no ambiguity here. Nothing in the EPA-approved SIP even suggests a tracking system must be applied. The district court thus properly dismissed the NRDC's third and fourth claims for failure to allege a violation of the EPA rule or the SIP."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [*Air, *CA9]

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