Law Street Media

Non-Profit Sues EPA for Not Publishing State Implementation Plans

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According to a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief filed on Wednesday in the Northern District of California against Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the EPA neglected to “timely assemble, publish, and publish notice in the Federal Register … comprehensive documents setting forth the state implementation plans (SIPs)” for three states, California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

The plaintiff, Our Children’s Earth Foundation (OCE), is an environmental non-profit corporation which “promotes public awareness,” of environmental impacts. It claimed that the EPA is required to take this action for the SIPs for each state under the Clean Air Act. OCE said that it sent a written notice of this failure to Wheeler on September 6, but the EPA has still not taken action to remedy the situation. The plaintiff said because of the EPA’s failure to publish the SIPs, it did not have the information needed to accomplish its goals for “education, advocacy, and enforcement of clean air” as efficiently as it could have with the SIPs. 

In the complaint, the plaintiff noted that comparing provisions in the plans from various states is not possible without access to the SIPs, and that sometimes this is “essential for advocacy.” OCE stated that it has filed two other lawsuits against the EPA Administrator for not complying with SIP publication deadlines, including one in 2001 and another in 2003. 

The SIPs are reportedly used by OCE and other environmental agencies to determine their priorities and to build information and education materials. The plaintiff claimed that the inaction by Wheeler has deprived it and its members of information and “have injured and continue to injure the interests of OCE and its members and staff.” 

OCE, represented by Environmental Advocates, asked the court to enforce the Clean Air Act and require the EPA administrator to publish the SIPs for the three states, which should have been published in November 2019. The plaintiff also asked for the defendant to be required to pay all costs for the litigation. 

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