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Quote of the Day - A new way of thinking has become the necessary condition for responsible living and acting. If we maintain obsolete values and beliefs, a fragmented consciousness and self-centered spirit, we will continue to hold onto outdated goals and behaviors. - Dali Lama
USEPA's Approval of California Air Quality Plan Overturned Due To Use Of Six-year, Outdated Data
The United States Environmental Protection Agency just lost a battle that it has been fighting with the Sierra Club since 2004. As you know, the USEPA sets the standards for air quality around the country. Since the air pollution is particularly bad in California, and especially in the San Joaquin Valley, the Sierra Club filed a challenge to the USEPA's approval of certain air quality standards for the Valley in 2010.
While the Sierra Club argued that the approval had a number of problems - including the fact that the standards were impossible to comply with - the Ninth Circuit relied on just one of those problems to overturn the USEPA's approval.
The Court said that the USEPA could not rely on data from 2004 in 2010 when approving the standards in California's State Implementation Plan. That's right - a six-year gap in data.
Six years outdated, and yet the USEPA still approved the 2004 SIP in 2010. Read that last sentence again. The USEPA was six years behind in reviewing data supplied to it, and refused to consider more current data in reaching its decision.
The USEPA failed to explain why it would not consider the new data, and the Ninth Circuit consequently held that refusal as "arbitrary and capricious," and ordered the USEPA to do it over again, and this time, consider new, relevant data.
I've had cases against the USEPA before, and this tactic is quite common. They don't do their homework, and when challenged about it, retort back that they have the statutory/regulatory right to rely on old, out-of-date data. Finally, thanks to the Sierra Club, the USEPA has been called on its tactics and hopefully, we'll see the last of this bureaucratic nonsense.