Monday, July 23, 2012

Court Upholds EPA Nitrogen Dioxide Air Quality Standards

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that EPA is within its authority to limit nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions near major roads and other urban locations. The American Petroleum Industry, various utilities, and other industry groups had petitioned the court for a review of EPA's 2010 final rule adopting new, one-hour primary national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for NO2. The groups claimed EPA was arbitrary and capricious in adopting the NAAQS, and that the rule went too far and was unlawful because it was more stringent than was requisite to protect the public health.

The court upheld EPA's primary NAAQS rule for NO2, saying the petitions had not proven it was either arbitrary or capricious or in violation of the CAA.

EPA established the first primary NAAQS for NO2 in 1971, with 53 parts per billion (ppb) for the annual average in any given area. NO2, along with the broader category of nitrogen oxides, is generated mainly through combustion processes, especially those occurring in automobile and truck engines and electric generating plants.

EPA had revised the primary NAAQS in 2010 based on new studies showing the adverse health effects from exposure to NO2 occurred at lower concentrations of NO2 and for exposures of much shorter durations than had previously been thought. The new one-hour primary NAAQS requires the three-year average of the annual 98th percentile of the daily maximum one-hour concentration be less than or equal to 100 ppb. EPA has stated that it intends to redesignate areas of the country as either in attainment or nonattainment in 2016 or 2017 once it fully deploys its planned monitoring network for NO2.

Caltha LLP provides specialized expertise to clients nationwide in the evaluation environmental rules, developing EHS compliance procedures, and preparing cost-effective EHS management programs.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at or Caltha LLP Website

No comments: