Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Arkansas AG Joins Florida & Others States To Fight EPA

Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Arkansas has joined Florida in a 17-state coalition to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for illegally invalidating the individual air quality protection plans in those states.

In June, the EPA issued a final rule requiring 35 states, including Arkansas, to revise their individual State Implementation Plans governing excess emissions during startup, shutdown or malfunction.

Those states, led by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, have filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the court to review the EPA’s final rule. Besides the clear violation of state’s rights enumerated in the Clean Air Act, the final rule also stands to stall or reverse progress already achieved in improving air quality in each state, according to a news release from Rutledge’s office.

State Implementation Plans are meant to ensure the state complies with federal standards for startup, shutdown or malfunction. The states in the coalition allege EPA’s final rule illegally requires the states to change their previously approved SIPs. The rule came after the agency agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club, according to the release. The states challenging the EPA charge that the agency adopted an illegal final rule that is in conflict with the Clean Air Act and infringes on individual states’ right to determine the most effective strategy for achieving air quality standards.

“Once again, the EPA is choosing to put the political interests of the Sierra Club ahead of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In yet another ‘sue and settle’ case, the EPA is rushing to appease the interests of the Sierra Club and force 35 States to alter their SIPs even though the plans are already succeeding. The EPA is completely ignoring the scope of its authority under the Clean Air Act in order to force another overreaching rule on Arkansans.”

In a written response to Rutledge’s move, Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas Sierra Club, blasted back, “It’s no surprise that big polluters and their supporters like Leslie Rutledge are challenging this rule so that they can keep violating their permit limits and the law. However, EPA is required to close these loopholes because they are inconsistent with the Clean Air Act. The loopholes also have the real-world consequences of compromising air quality and public health.”

Hooks argues that the EPA rule is meant to close loopholes in the Clean Air Act that allowed plants to emit unlimited amounts of dangerous air pollution, noting that these facilities often emit more pollution during times of startup, shutdown and malfunction than they emit during normal operations throughout the entire year.

In addition to Arkansas and Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia have also joined the challenge.

Tags: Arkansas, Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge,joins, lawsuit,, fight, EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, illegally invalidating, State, individual air quality protection plans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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