Sierra Club sues EPA over tardy regional haze plan for Louisiana

The Sierra Club filed a Sept. 22 lawsuit at the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia seeking to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to write a Federal Implementation Plan for regional haze for the state of Louisiana that the lawsuit said should have been issued last year.

This is an action to compel EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to perform a nondiscretionary duty mandated by the Clean Air Act (CAA), the lawsuit said. Effective Aug. 6, 2012, EPA disapproved, in part, revisions to  Louisiana’s state implementation plan (SIP) for regional haze and interstate transport. Within two years of that disapproval—no later than Aug. 6, 2014—EPA was required under the Clean Air Act to promulgate a FIP or approve a revised SIP that corrects the deficiencies in Louisiana’s plan.

“Louisiana has not corrected its deficient plan, the statutorily mandated two-year period has elapsed, and EPA has failed to issue a federal plan,” said the lawsuit. “To protect its members’ health and recreational interests, Sierra Club now seeks an order compelling EPA to perform its mandatory duty to promulgate a FIP for Louisiana that satisfies the requirements of the Clean Air Act’s visibility provisions.”

In its August 2012 decision, EPA found that Louisiana did not properly satisfy its obligation to require certain sources to install best available retrofit technology (BART) to reduce SO2, NOx, and other visibility-impairing pollution. As a result, EPA concluded that Louisiana would be required to reconsider whether reductions of SO2 from electricity generating units, whether subject to BART or not, are appropriate for ensuring reasonable progress toward the national visibility goal.

The lawsuit said that Louisiana has not submitted a revised regional haze plan since EPA’s disapproval decision.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.