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Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (SSM) Reconsideration

Case Number # 3524

Toxic air pollution from refineries, chemical plants, incinerators and other large industrial plants can increase to as much as ten times allowable levels during startup, shutdown, and malfunction events. Nonetheless, EPA's regulations exempted plants from toxic emission limits during these periods. Moreover, though EPA requires plant operators to prepare a plan for minimizing emissions during these highly polluting periods, EPA did not require plants to comply with their plan and allowed the plan to be kept secret from the public.

In December of 2008, as a result of this lawsuit, this loophole was closed by a federal court. Industry groups appealed the decision, and in March 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case, effectively ending litigation.

Press Releases

Friday, April 29, 2011
Loophole allowing emissions to exceed lawful limit must be closed to protect public health and the environment
Monday, March 8, 2010
Victory for clean air advocates who fought air pollution loophole
Friday, December 19, 2008
Polluter loophole obliterated by federal court decision
Friday, September 12, 2008
Air pollution loophole in federal court today
Monday, June 19, 2006
Environmental, public health coalition challenges illegal rule in federal court
Monday, September 12, 2005
Rule allows toxic air facilities to ignore own contingency plans