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Environmental Defense v. EPA

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20031
Nos. No. 02-4107, (2d Cir., 05/19/2004)

The Second Circuit denied an advocacy group's petition to review EPA's approval of a state SIP for attaining NAAQS for ozone by the applicable attainment date, holding that the plan did not violate the CAA or EPA regulations. EPA properly used the weight-of-evidence analysis to address uncertainties and supplement results from the photochemical grid model to measure ozone. Reliance on air quality models guidelines did not contravene EPA's own regulations since subsequent revisions to the guideline contemplate the use of supplemental analysis, including weight of evidence. Although the state must meet its attainment deadline by 2007, EPA used its delegated authority under CAA §181(a)(5) to grant the state an extension on the attainment deadline if the state met certain criteria in the attainment year. This did not relax the attainment deadline but merely ensured that although compliance might be achieved earlier, EPA would still deem the state in compliance if it attained the standard by 2007. The state's enforceable commitments to further reduce emissions were permissible because they were limited in time and scope, capable of being achieved as part of its overall plan, and consisted of proposed regulations that were specific enough to allow EPA to evaluate their likely efficacy and contribution to the plan as a whole. Accepting the enforceable commitments did not impermissibly and indefinitely extend the statutory deadline simply because part of the process would be concluded in the future. The state had submitted sufficient information by the deadline for EPA to perform its role in assessing the completeness and reasonableness of the state's plan.