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National Parks Conservation Ass'n v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20266
Nos. 12-5211, (D.C. Cir., 12/11/2013)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed Arizona's objection to a consent decree that established a timeline for EPA to approve a SIP, or promulgate a federal implementation plan (FIP), that would meet the requirements of the Regional Haze Rule. A lower court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the objection, and the appellate court agreed. The state claimed that it will be harmed when EPA promulgates a FIP to fully implement the requirements of the Regional Haze Rule. But the consent decree neither requires EPA to promulgate a FIP for all elements of the Regional Haze Rule, nor bars EPA from considering and accepting Arizona's SIP submission, in whole or in part. Rather, EPA retains the discretion to choose either course of action. Also, the consent decree does not impair Arizona's ability to contest any future adverse decisions made by EPA in implementing the Regional Haze Rule. As such, Arizona's objections are not ripe.