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National Parks Conservation Ass'n v. North Dakota Department of Health

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20012
Nos. 45-2018-CV-680, (S.W. Jud. Dist. N.D., 01/23/2019) (Greenwood, J.)

A state court upheld the North Dakota Department of Health's decision to issue an air quality permit for construction of an oil refinery less than three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Environmental groups argued that the Department's decision to issue a synthetic minor source permit rather than a major source permit underestimated potential air pollution from the refinery and was not supported by evidence in the record. But the court concluded that the Department's expertise was entitled to deference in this instance because the subject matter was complex, and found that the Department's written responses to public comments provided a reasoned explanation for its conclusion that the refinery wouldn't be a major pollution source. The court therefore affirmed the Department's decision.