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Sierra Club v. Jackson

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20067
Nos. Nos. 01-1537 et al., (D.D.C. , 01/20/2011)

A district court ordered EPA to promulgate emission standards for area source boilers, major source boilers, and commercial and institutional solid waste incineration units by February 21, 2011. In March 2006, the court ordered EPA to fulfill its statutory duties regarding the promulgation of certain emission standards by June 15, 2009. Since then, the court has granted a number of EPA's motions to extend the deadlines, the most recent deadline being January 21, 2011. EPA issued proposed air emission rules last spring, but in light of the comments it received, the Agency wanted to extend the deadline until April 13, 2012, so it could re-propose the rules. The court denied its request. EPA failed to demonstrate that it would be impossible to promulgate "substantively adequate regulations" by the January 21, 2011, deadline. Although much of the time-consuming rulemaking process for the three air rules may have been appropriate under normal circumstances, EPA engaged in discretionary delay in the face of a congressional directive. The policy arguments EPA raised have no place in a case where Congress has mandated expedition, and its statutorily mandated deadlines have long since passed. And unfortunately for EPA, the impossibility test is not concerned with whether re-proposal will produce more effective rules. Accordingly, the court ordered EPA to issue the rules by February 21, 2011.