EPA Disapproval of Texas Pollution Control Permit Program
The U.S. Chamber and other joint petitioners urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to review the EPA's disapproval of air quality regulations promulgated by the state of Texas - more than three years after the time in which the EPA was required to act on the state's program. Texas issued the regulations pursuant to its duty under the Clean Air Act to adopt and administer a a "State Implementation Plan" (SIP) for implementing federal air quality standards. According to NCLC and the other petitioners, the Texas Pollution Control Project (PCP) program disapproved by the EPA meets all the federal requirements. Because the Clean Air Act gives the EPA a sharply limited role in reviewing and approving SIPs and SIP revisions, the EPA had no legal basis for disapproving the PCP.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the EPA "had no legal basis” for disapproving 2006 air quality regulations promulgated by the state of Texas as part of its duty under the Clean Air Act to adopt and administer a plan for implementing federal air quality standards. The EPA “disapproved” Texas’s Pollution Control Project (PCP) program more than three years after the EPA was required by law to act on the state's program. In its ruling, the Fifth Circuit emphasized that with regard to implementation of air quality standards set by the EPA, "the Act confines the EPA to the ministerial function of reviewing SIPs for consistency with the Act's requirements." According to the court, the EPA “overstepped the bounds” of its “narrow statutory role.”