On Friday, January 22, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Sierra Club, Louisiana Action Network and Coalition for a Safe Environment, filed a motion to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act emissions standards for more than 400 "small" chemical manufacturing plants that emit up to either 10 tons per year of a single hazardous air pollutant or 25 tons per year of any combination of hazardous air pollutants. Earthjustice is defending an EPA standard finalized in October that would limit emissions that are known to cause several ailments including neurological disorders, cancer, reproductive abnormalities, respirator irritation and birth defects. In response the American Chemistry Council and Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates filed a petition for review of the final rule in December.
The final rule is estimated to impact 450 existing facilities and 27 new facilities. There are a total of about 1,700 chemical manufacturing plants in the regulated category.
"Although we urged EPA to use its authority to issue even stronger regulations to protect the public against health threats including cancer and birth defects, the final rule is an important step forward in regulating smaller sources of toxic air pollutants that often escape meaningful standards," said Katie Renshaw, attorney with Earthjustice. "Although the final rule is far from perfect, we can’t let the industry self-interests roll back the protections that EPA has put in place."