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EPA Called on to Force State to Revise Air Quality Rules, Hold Polluters Accountable
Denver—WildEarth Guardians today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the State of North Dakota to close its clean air loopholes and guarantee full protection of public health and welfare from air polluters.
“This is about being safe, not sorry,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “Air pollution limits exist to keep our health and our environment safe; it’s critical that we ensure compliance at all times, not just when it’s most convenient for polluters.”
In a petition filed with the Administrator of the EPA, WildEarth Guardians targeted provisions in North Dakota’s air quality regulations that grant exceptions to meeting clean air standards. One provision in particular allows the State to grant “variances” from complying with emission limits that are meant to protect public health. The EPA has stated that it “agrees this rule should be revised.” See http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-13051.htm.
“We don’t provide variances to speed limits and we certainly shouldn’t allow polluters to skirt complying with our basic clean air safeguards,” said Nichols. “It’s time to close up North Dakota’s loopholes.”
States must adopt a set of air quality regulations that are consistent with the federal Clean Air Act. If their regulations are contrary to the Clean Air Act, the EPA can call for their revision. In today’s petition, WildEarth Guardians is calling on the EPA to require the State of North Dakota to revise its air quality regulations to close the loopholes and come into compliance with the Clean Air Act.
WildEarth Guardians has called on the Administrator to respond to the petition within 60 days.
View the Petition here.