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California Sues Over “Once in, Always in”
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California Sues Over “Once in, Always in”


On April 12, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against EPA over the agency’s “once in, always in” policy that EPA reversed in January 2018.


The “once in, always in” policy dates back to 1995 and applied to factories and other "major" industrial pollution sources covered by maximum achievable control technology (MACT) emissions standards because they annually released at least 10 tons of a single air toxic or 25 tons of any combination of hazardous pollutants.


Under that framework, the MACT standards stayed in place even if a plant's emissions dropped below those thresholds on the grounds that polluters could otherwise backslide.


"If the 'Once In, Always In' policy is rescinded, children in California and around the country — particularly those who must live near the polluting plant or factory — may grow up in an environment with tons of additional hazardous pollutants in the air they breathe," Becerra said in a statement. The lawsuit was filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, along with the California Air Resources Board.

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