Case Number # 2057, 2058
Air quality planning in the San Joaquin Valley is broken. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA sets national standards and the state and local air districts are responsible for developing the plans for how areas that fail to meet those national standards will control pollution sources in order to come into compliance. For the last 10 years Earthjustice has been putting the pressure on EPA and the local air district to adopt meaningful plans and enforce the deadlines for agency action under the Clean Air Act.
On May 6, 2010, Earthjustice launched another round of challenges on behalf of Sierra Club and Medical Advocates for Healthy Air. In the first case, filed in the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, these groups challenged EPA's approval of the San Joaquin Valley's outdated plan to achieve the national 1-hour ozone standard. The plan, which has been sitting at EPA for 6 years, purports to demonstrate how the Valley will meet the old ozone standard this year. The information relied on for this demonstration has all since been rejected by the State and local air district and there is little doubt that they have failed to adopt control measures that are adequate to meet the standard this year. The challenge will ask the court to send the plan back so that real, meaningful control will be adopted. The second case, filed in federal district court, challenges EPA's failure to meet the statutory deadlines for acting on the San Joaquin Valley plan to address the newer 8-hour ozone standard.
Earthjustice filed these cases together to send the message to EPA that the traditional approach to planning in the San Joaquin Valley is not working. We have already met with EPA to discuss new approaches that will break EPA out of the pattern of delay followed by approval of air quality plans that everyone knows will not be sufficient to clean the air.