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

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20157
Nos. 20190095, (N.D., 06/29/2020)

The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling upholding the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality's issuance of an air quality permit to construct a refinery. A conservation group argued the Department's omission of an enforceable permit limit for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) violated the CAA, that the Department did not sufficiently address the group's comment regarding inadequate monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from leaks, and that the Department's issuance of a "minor source" permit violated the CAA because of the inadequate monitoring. The high court found the Department reasonably considered the impact of the permit conditions restricting other pollutants in calculating the refinery's potential to emit HAPs and determined the facility would not be a major source of HAPs. It further concluded the Department considered and addressed the group's comment regarding VOC monitoring and that its permit decision considered and addressed VOC leaks in requiring compliance with the permit's enhanced leak detection and repair program. It therefore affirmed the district court's ruling upholding the permit.