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Friday, December 19, 2014

Court Rejects Sierra Club's Challenge to EPA's Finding that 3 Midwest Areas Meet Ozone Standards

The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the U.S. EPA challenging its decisions to redesignate three Midwest areas (including Milwaukee-Racine, Chicago, and East St. Louis) as meeting the ozone standards of the Clean Air Act.  The Act requires the EPA to confirm that (1) the ozone in an area has dropped to a certain level and (2) that the improvement in air quality resulted from permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions.  

In 2004, all three areas were designed by the EPA as not meeting the ozone standards, and classified the areas as "moderate nonattainment" under the Act.   In 2012, however, the EPA redesignated the areas to "attainment."The Sierra Club argues that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in making its redesignation decisions in these three areas.   The Seventh Circuit disagreed, and denied the Sierra Club's appeal.  Sierra Club v. USEPA (7th Cir., Dec. 16, 2014)  The court noted that the arbitrary and capricious standard gives great deference to the EPA's administrative decision, and determined that the Sierra Club failed to overcome that high standard in its challenge to the EPA's redesignation.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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