"Court Upholds EPA 'Nonattainment' Designations for Soot"

"A federal appeals court yesterday upheld nearly all U.S. EPA designations of areas where airborne soot concentrations exceed national standards, rejecting challenges from state and local governments and industry groups.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday rejected nearly every challenge from nine cities and counties, 10 power-industry groups and three states -- New York, West Virginia and Indiana -- upholding EPA's 2005 designations of nonattainment for fine particulate matter, or soot.

The agency in 2005 listed 225 U.S. counties as violating the 1997 federal PM 2.5 standards.

State and local governments and industry groups filed legal challenges against the agency's designations. They argued that EPA had illegally bypassed notice and comment for policies guiding the designations and challenged EPA's authority to define nonattainment areas as broad metropolitan regions. Petitioners also said the agency's designation rule was arbitrary and capricious and requested that the court vacate certain designations."

Robin Bravender reports for Greenwire in the New York Times July 8, 2009.

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Air