ADEQ plans suit against EPA
Web Producer: Taylor Higgins
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Officials at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced that they into to file a suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
ADEQ could file the suit because it claims the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to to take timely action on the state's implementation plan for regional haze. The suit also charges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for splitting the decision on Arizona's state-wide plan into two parts.
Arizona submitted a proposed air quality plan on Feb. 28, 2011 for improving visibility in the protected national parks and wilderness. In compliance to the Clean Air Act, the EPA was required to approve or disapprove the entire plan by Aug. 28. The EPA has only proposed action for the part relating to the three power plants.
"The regional haze program is about improving visibility by 2064, not about protecting public health," said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. "We would have much preferred to work with EPA as a partner to make sure the visibility benefits are justified by the costs, but because we have been cut out of the process we feel as though we have no other choice but to file suit to protect Arizona's rights. EPA's decision to split the decision on a state-wide plan into multiple parts simply makes no sense and is contrary to the Clean Air Act."
Arizona submitted a regional haze plan to the EPA in December of 2003 and an updated one in 2004.The EPA determined in 2009 that parts of the plan were incomplete.
After trying to fix the plan, the ADEQ submitted their own plan in February 2011.
Numerous environmental groups sued the EPA in August 2011 for failing to approve the regional haze plans for Arizona and forty other states.
The court upheld the settlement proposed by the plaintiffs and EPA on July 2. ADEQ filed a notice of intent to appeal.
The July 2 ruling allows EPA to delay and offer a partial decision regarding Arizona's 2011 regional haze plan
EPA's decision regarding the rest of the plan is due July 15, 2013
EPA is required to fix any problems it identifies in the State's plans at the same time it notifies the State of its final decision.