Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join ICAC
Delaware Pressing Court to Bar EPA from Granting Itself Extensions to Respond to Petitions
Share |

Delaware Pressing Court to Bar EPA from Granting Itself Extensions to Respond to Petitions


The state of Delaware is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit to bar EPA from granting itself six-month extensions to respond to states' Clean Air Act petitions, which ask the agency to mitigate interstate air pollution. This could bolster Northeast states that are trying to use the petitions to curb their major ozone problems.


During March 6 oral arguments, a 3-judge panel admitted to having difficulty understanding what relief they could grant the state. They did, however, press EPA on why the agency is so late to respond to the petition.


In the case, Delaware Department of Natural Resources And Environmental Control v. EPA, Delaware is asking the court to vacate EPA's six-month extension for responding to its petition filed under Clean Air Act section 126 that seeks direct federal emissions controls to limit nitrogen oxides from a power plant in Conemaugh, PA. Delaware says the plant is contributing significantly to its problems attaining ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).


EPA's six-month extension for responding expired in August 2017. The agency, therefore, argues the case is moot and should be dismissed, although it has yet to actually respond to the petition. Delaware has already given notice of its intent to sue EPA in federal district court to force a response.


Delaware has said it believes the case is not moot and reiterated its continued intent to curb interstate emissions under section 126. The provision allows a state to petition EPA to regulate emissions in other states that are hindering its ability to attain NAAQS, setting a 60-day deadline for the agency to respond. However, the agency granted itself the six-month extension to Delaware's petition. If the court decides to bar EPA’s extensions, the ruling would be binding in the circuit courts of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal