Today, public health environmental groups will ask a federal appeals court to bar the Bush administration from gutting a critical Clean Air Act program requiring power plants and other industrial facilities to install up-to-date pollution controls when they make changes that increase pollution. The groups will file a “motion to stay,” seeking a court order stopping the administration from implementing changes to the new source review program that the groups argue would dramatically increase air pollution. If granted, the stay would remain in effect until the Court has an opportunity to review the legality of the new rules.
Attorneys general from New York, 13 other states, and the District of Columbia will file similar motions in the same court today.
The motion to stay follows on the heels of suits filed last month the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., by a coalition of conservation and public health organizations and a number of state attorneys general.
According to the lawsuits (State of New York, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, D.C. Cir. No. 03-1380 and consolidated cases), the Bush administration’s rule change creates a loophole in the Clean Air Act’s new source review program, allowing more than 20,000 power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities to install replacement equipment without updating pollution controls, even when the replacement increases air pollution. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to drop enforcement cases against dozens of facilities charged with violations of the pre-existing new source review provisions.
Earthjustice is representing the American Lung Association, Communities for a Better Environment, Environmental Defense, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), Sierra Club and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) in the case. Meanwhile, the Clean Air Task Force is representing seven state and regional environmental groups.
For more information, please contact:
American Lung Association: Diane Maple, 202-785-3355
Communities for a Better Environment: Scott Kuhn, 323-826-9771 ext. 108
Earthjustice: Keri Powell, 202-667-4500 x 209 or Cat Lazaroff, 202-667-4500 x 213
Environmental Defense: Janea Scott, 212-505-2100
NRDC: John D. Walke, 202-289-2406 or Elliott Negin, 202-289-2405
Sierra Club: Nat Mund, 202-675-2397 or Wendy Balazik, 202-675-2383
U.S. PIRG: Zachary Corrigan, 202-276-0159