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South Coast Air Quality Management Dist. v. EPA

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20136
Nos. No. 04-1200, (D.C. Cir., 06/08/2007) petitions for reh'g denied

The court denied petitions for rehearing regarding its previous vacatur and remand of a final 2004 rule implementing the eight-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards under the Clean Air Act (CAA) in South Coast Air Quality Management District v. EPA, 472 F.3d 882, 37 ELR 20003 (D.C. Cir. 2006). The petitions challenge the court's interpretation of the statutory gap that arises from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) decision to change from a one-hour to an eight-hour measurement system for ozone. The petitions also challenge the court’s construction of the CAA's antibacksliding provision. Because none of the challenges have merit, the court denied the petitions. However, the court granted the joint request by EPA and environmental groups to make explicit that the court’s reference to conformity determinations in South Coast speaks only to the use of one-hour motor vehicle emissions budgets as part of eight-hour conformity determinations until eight-hour motor vehicle emissions budgets are available. The court also granted their request that the 2004 rule be vacated only to the extent that the court has sustained challenges to it. Complete vacatur of a partially valid rule would only serve to stall progress where it is most needed.

[A prior court decision is available at 37 ELR 20003.]