North Carolina Files Lawsuit To Compel Federal Government To Follow The Law

North Carolina Files Lawsuit To Compel Federal Government To Follow The Law

By / State News / الأربعاء, 06 نيسان/أبريل 2016 04:00

RALEIGH, N.C. : March 30th, 2016 - North Carolina’s environmental agency filed a complaint today against federal environmental officials for failing to act on a petition that inappropriately blamed North Carolina for contributing to air quality problems in the Northeastern United States.
"North Carolina is a leader in cleaning up its energy sector," said General Counsel Sam Hayes. "The northeastern states' petition was nothing more than a political attempt to shift the blame for poor air quality in the Northeast."
A group of Northeastern states petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, in December 2013 to force a number of states including North Carolina to install unnecessary and expensive controls on emission sources. The petition failed to demonstrate that emissions from North Carolina's power plants had any impact on the Northeastern states. Under the law, the EPA has 18 months to approve or deny a petition. EPA has taken no action on the petition and the lawsuit filed today will force EPA to take action on the petition.
The Northeastern states said they filed the petition to "level the playing field for businesses" by driving up electricity prices in North Carolina. The Northeastern states include New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
North Carolina’s complaint asks the U.S. Eastern District Court to find the EPA in violation of the Clean Air Act for failing to perform its duties and to require that the federal agency reach a decision on the petition.
The Northeastern states petitioned the EPA to include the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to the Ozone Transport Region (OTR).
On December 9th, 2013, the governors of the Northeastern states signed a letter to the EPA which stated in part, "Transported air pollution is a major cause of continued nonattainment of the ozone standard in the OTR and in many states upwind of the OTR. States within the OTR have adopted stringent controls at significant cost. Continued nonattainment burdens our economies and deters economic growth. States outside of the OTR are not required to install the same basic controls on a statewide basis but only in nonattainment areas, and they sometimes seek and obtain waivers from even that limited obligation. We believe expansion of the transport region and implementation of the required controls in upwind states are necessary for all of the OTR to achieve attainment in a timely manner. We also believe that the consultation process that is such an important part of the Ozone Transport Commission's (OTC) activities can benefit all states in an expanded OTR in the assessment of the ozone transport problem and result in the development of effective solutions."
The letter stated, "We believe these states are the most significant contributors to continued ozone standard violations in the OTR and that expansion of the region will result in more emission reductions, a fairer distribution of the burdens of controlling air pollution (ozone), and a level economic playing field."
The letter states, "The OTR was established under Clean Air Act (CAA)... to help the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states address transported air pollution. Decades of research have shown that transported pollution encompasses a broader area than was understood when the Clean Air Act was written. Based on our widened understanding of transport, the requested expansion will help address longer range transport. Section 176A permits EPA to add one or more states to the OTR if EPA has reason to believe that such states are significantly contributing to violations of the ozone standard in the transport region."
North Carolina officials argue that technical information provided by the Northeastern states is outdated and, "does not reflect current and expected future emissions and air quality."

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