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South Coast Air Quality Management District v. EPA

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20025
Nos. 15-1115, (D.C. Cir., 02/16/2018)

The D.C. Circuit held that EPA unlawfully revoked the 1997 ozone NAAQS when it implemented the 2008 standard. In 2008, EPA set the ozone NAAQS at 75 parts per billion (ppb). In 2015, when implementing the standard, the Agency eliminated the 1997 standard of 84 ppb on the grounds that it was impossible to attain the 2008 standard without first attaining the 1997 standard. Environmental groups challenged the move, claiming it arbitrarily waives the obligation to attain the 1997 NAAQS by the statutory deadline. EPA argued that the CAA authorizes revocation of a superseded NAAQS so long as adequate anti-backsliding measures are in place. The court agreed with EPA's assessment but held that the Agency failed to introduce adequate anti-backsliding provisions to ensure that areas do not get worse. The revocation of the 1997 NAAQS was invalidated.