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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Jackson

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20213
Nos. Nos. 09-1405, 10-2123, (7th Cir. , 06/16/2011)

The Seventh Circuit denied environmental groups' petitions challenging EPA's approval of revisions to Wisconsin's new source review program. In 2002, EPA changed the rules that determine when polluters need permits in order to modify existing facilities—and, if they need permits, what restrictions they carry. These new rules were challenged, but the D.C. Circuit ruled in 2005 that the new rules are rational and consistent with the CAA. Wisconsin's latest implementation plan includes features from the 2002 federal regulations, which EPA approved. Convinced that the 2002 revisions will make pollution worse, environmental groups challenged EPA's approval of the plan. But the groups' petitions for review merely repeat arguments that failed to persuade the D.C. Circuit in 2005. In the current litigation, the groups observe that EPA is relying on the same models that it used in 2002 and has no better reason now than it did then to think that a concrete plan, such as Wisconsin’s, will curtail emissions. But if EPA is in the same position as 2002 (and 2005), so are petitioners. As in 2002 and 2005, the models supply substantial evidence for EPA's decision and show that it is neither arbitrary nor capricious.