Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Natural Resources Defense Council v. New York State Dep't of Envtl. Conservation

Citation: 19 ELR 20513
No. Nos. 87 Civ. 0505 (MEL), 4242 (MEL), 700 F. Supp. 173/28 ERC 1857/(S.D.N.Y., 11/21/1988, 12/02/2088) EPA ordered to set date for SIP revision

The court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must set a date by which New York must revise its substantially inadequate state implementation plan (SIP) for carbon monoxide and ozone. The court first holds that EPA has a nondiscretionary duty under § 110(c)(1) of the Clean Air Act to set a date for revision of an inadequate SIP. The language of § 110(c)(1) is mandatory. Further, if EPA does not set a deadline for a state to revise a SIP, it cannot fulfill its statutory duty to issue regulations should the state fail to do so. Failure to set a date would also frustrate Congress' clear intent to ensure attainment of air quality standards by the statutory deadlines. Requiring EPA to set a date does not interfere with its prosecutorial discretion. The court next holds that EPA failed to set a date for New York to revise its SIP. EPA improperly directed New York to delay completion of its revisions pending EPA's future issuance of a final policy on SIP revisions or Congress' passage of a new Clean Air Act. Finally, the court holds that EPA's delay was not unreasonable enough to violate § 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act. The delay was not in bad faith, and was caused partly by the complexity of the issues and the uncertainty regarding congressional action.

[Related opinions are published at 18 ELR 20106, 20148.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Donald S. Strait, Eric A. Goldstein
Natural Resources Defense Council
122 E. 42nd St., 45th Fl., New York NY 10168
(212) 949-0049

Counsel for Defendants
Rudolph W. Guiliani, U.S. Attorney
One St. Andrew's Plaza, New York NY 10007
(212) 791-0008