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Clean Air Case Continues

By Scott Randolph, attorney

   Just one month before oral arguments were scheduled to take place, the U.S. EPA proposed striking the Georgia Air Quality Rule from the books.  The Rule has been on the books for more than two decades, but never fully enforced.  After more than three years of litigation, the federal and state agencies disagreed on the effects of the Rule.  Rather than enforce the Rule, however, the U.S. EPA has now proposed eliminating the Rule altogether.


Hercules Plant


The litigation began when GEC filed comments to Hercules’ Title V operating permit because it did not take into consideration the cumulative impact of the major air pollution sources operating within the small area around Brunswick.  The U.S. EPA issued the permit anyway and GEC filed for an objection to the permit and then was forced to sue the EPA to make a decision on the objections.  The EPA then declined to object and GEC was forced to appeal the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

   In their briefs, the State and EPA disagreed on the effect of the Rule.  Having backed themselves into a corner, the EPA proposed eliminating the Rule.  As a result, the Court has postponed the oral arguments until the end of April.

   We have filed comments and objections to the EPA’s proposed rulemaking.  At this time, we do not know what EPA’s final action on eliminating the Rule will be.  Please check this website periodically for further updates!



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