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Delay in DC Smog Cleanup Ruled Illegal

On February 3, 2004, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling partially in favor of Earthjustice, throwing out the EPA's 2003 approval of regional smog control plans for the Washington, DC, area that merely promised to adopt overdue pollution controls in the future. This is the third time in two years that a federal court has ruled that the EPA has illegally delayed clean air requirements for the Washington region.

The region's plans were completely missing a variety of anti-smog measures required by the Clean Air Act, including stronger pollution limits for factories, annual emissions cuts, and steps to offset growth in car and truck exhaust. The EPA's conditional approval let DC, Maryland, and Virginia put off the adoption of these measures. Earthjustice filed suit, contending that the EPA's action violated the Clean Air Act, and in the February 3 decision the court agreed.

In March 2004, Earthjustice filed a petition for rehearing on some of the aspects of the decision that are unfavorable.