June 22, 2006 – Several conservation groups filed a federal court challenge to new rules allowing polluters to bypass Clean Air Act regulations when their equipment malfunctions.
- Environmentalists See Promise, Peril in New EPA Regulations (Mar 16, 2005)
- Groups Accuse EPA of Violating Clean Air Act (May 18, 2005)
- Court Finds in Favor of Pollution Reporting Rules (Oct 27, 2005)
- EPA Looks to Nix Rural Clean Air Protections (Apr 21, 2006)
In April, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule on emissions from refineries, chemical plants and other toxic polluters while they are starting up, shutting down or experiencing a malfunction. The new rules state that during these times, excessive emissions are not considered violations of the Clean Air Act.
Jesse Marquez is executive director for the Coalition for a Safe Environment, one of the plaintiffs in the recent court challenge of the rules. "The people living near these facilities should be protected from breathing carcinogenic and toxic fumes at all times, not just when it is convenient for plant owners," Marquez said in a press statement.
The new EPA rule also weakens the circumstances under which the public can obtain information about plans companies have in place for controlling emissions during equipment failures.
The other plaintiffs in the suit are the Environmental Integrity Project, Friends of Hudson and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. The case is being litigated by the environment-focused law firm Earth Justice.