Court tells EPA to review California air pollution rules
February 2, 2011
• Sides with Central Valley and environmental groups
• ‘Arbitrary and capricious’
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must review its approval of California’s standards for air pollution caused by ozone and pesticides, the Ninth U.S. District Court of Appeals says.
The appeals court agrees with the petition filed by the Association of Irritated Residents; El Comité para el Bienestar de Earlimart; the Community of Children’s Advocates Against Pesticide Poisoning; and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
They are protesting a final action by the EPA approving in part and disapproving in part revisions to California’s “state implementation plan” for meeting air quality standards under the federal Clean Air Act.
The groups raise three issues in their petition for review:
• They contend EPA’s failure to order California to submit a revised attainment plan for the South Coast (Los Angeles) area after it disapproved a 2003 attainment plan was arbitrary and capricious.
• They contend EPA’s approval of a plan designed to reduce emissions from pesticide applications violates the Clean Air Act because the plan lacks enforceable commitments.
• They contend EPA violated the Clean Air Act by failing to require transportation control measures to combat any increase in vehicle miles traveled.
The federal appeals court says it agrees with all three arguments.
“We grant the petition as to all three claims,” the court says. In a detailed analysis, the appellate decision calls the EPA’s actions “arbitrary and capricious.”