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Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment v. Kennecott Utah Copper LLC

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20107
Nos. 2:11-cv-01181, (D. Utah, 06/08/2016) (Shelby, J.)

A district court dismissed on summary judgment environmental groups' lawsuit against a mining company for alleged SIP violations as it relates to NAAQS for coarse particular matter (PM10). Under the Utah SIP's "material moved" provision for PM10, total material moved (ore and waste) may not exceed 150.5 million tons per year without prior approval from the state. Here, the mine received state approval. The groups nevertheless argue that the mine violated the material moved provision because it should have received EPA approval before it could exceed the 150.5 million ton per year limit. But nothing in the language of the material moved provision references, or invites reference, to any set of conditions other than state approval. The unambiguous plain meaning of the regulation allows the mine to increase the amount of material moved through unilateral state approval. Nor does such approval render the SIP modified. The SIP is simply being implemented as it was written and approved in the first instance.