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Air Case Now With 11th Circuit Court


  All the briefs have been submitted in the GEC’s 11th Circuit Appeal of the U.S. EPA’s decision not to object to the Hercules Title V air operating permit.  The Court set oral arguments for January 27, 2006, but this date can change.  A decision in the case is expected early next year.

  There is some dispute between the state, the U.S. EPA and Hercules regarding the extent of the duties required to satisfy the permitting requirements of the Georgia air quality control rule that is the center of this appeal.  While GEC argues that the rule is a specific emission standard that requires an independent analysis to determine compliance, the EPA has accepted the State’s opinion that the rule is only a “general duty” rule that simply gives authority to the state agency to protect public health, but does not require an actual determination that the public health will be protected at the time the permit is issued. 

   In reality, the State simply doesn’t want to be required to examine pollution hot spots that exist in communities such as Brunswick.  With several major facilities in Brunswick combining to emit several thousand tons of toxic pollutants every year, an analysis of the cumulative impact of all these toxic pollutants on public health—particularly in light of the seven elementary schools and hospitals close by—would almost certainly result in additional emission limitations on these facilities.



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