Just one month before the original oral arguments were scheduled to take
place—after nearly four years of litigation—the U.S. EPA proposed rulemaking
to strike the law that was supposed to protect people from the cumulative
impact of multiple air pollution sources. Despite the rule being on the
books for nearly two decades—but never enforced—the
U.S. EPA declared its inclusion in the State Implementation Plan (SIP) a
“mistake.” In reality, the federal government and state government
disagreed over the affect of the rule, so rather than enforcing the rule,
the federal government sought the easy way out.
GEC has been asking the state to take into consideration the cumulative
impact of several major sources of air pollution in Brunswick, but the state
and federal government continue to act as if the facilities are operating in
a vacuum with no other sources around. As a result, Brunswick air quality
has deteriorated and the combination of several sources and numerous
different toxic air pollutants has resulted in high levels of cancer risks.
The new U.S. EPA rule that strikes the decades-old Georgia rule from the SIP
has been finalized and is now in effect. The U.S. EPA filed a motion to
dismiss the case alleging that it no longer had the ability to deny the
permit without the rule. GEC has opposed the motion.
Currently, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has set oral arguments for
early October, but it may rule on the motion to dismiss before that time.