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GLIN==> Court throws out Bush Administration Clean Air Act rollback

 > CONTACTS: American Lung Association: Diane Maple, 202-785-3355
 > Communities for a Better Environment: Scott Kuhn, 323-826-9771 ext. 108
 > Earthjustice: Keri Powell, 202-667-4500 x 209 or Cat Lazaroff, 
202-667-4500 x 213
 > Environmental Defense: Janea Scott, 212-505-2100
 > NRDC: John Walke, 202-425-4633 or Elliott Negin, 202-997-1472
 > Sierra Club: Nat Mund, 202-675-2397 or Brian O> '> Malley, 202-675-6279
 > U.S. PIRG: Zachary Corrigan, 202-276-0159
 > Federal Court Blocks Bush Administration Plan to Cripple Key Clean Air 
Act Provision
 > Court to Review Legality of Changes to New Source Review
 > WASHINGTON (December 24, 2003) - A federal court today dealt a major 
blow to the Bush administration> '> s plan to gut a key provision of the 
Clean Air Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals granted a coalition of 
environmental groups> '>  motion to stay implementation of a loophole in 
the law> '> s new source review program that would allow thousands of aging 
power plants and other industrial facilities to emit more air pollution, 
threatening the health of millions of Americans. The court will not lift 
the stay unless it ultimately decides the administration> '> s rule change 
is legal.
 > "> The administration> '> s rule change would allow industry to renovate 
facilities in ways that dramatically increase air pollution without 
installing up-to-date pollution controls or even notifying nearby 
residents,> ">  said Keri Powell, an attorney at Earthjustice. > "> The 
stay will prevent industry from taking advantage of this illegal loophole 
while the court challenge is pending.> ">  Earthjustice is representing the 
American Lung Association, Communities for a Better Environment, 
Environmental Defense, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), Sierra 
Club and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) in the case.
 > To obtain a stay, the environmental groups had to demonstrate that they 
were likely to prevail in their legal challenge to the rule. In addition, 
they had to show that their members would suffer irreparable harm if the 
court allowed the rules to go into effect. The court rarely grants requests 
to stay regulations pending judicial review.
 > If the court had not issued a stay, the new rules would have gone into 
effect on December 26 in at least 17 states and territories, including 
California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New 
York, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Industrial facilities in those states would 
have been able to take advantage of the new air pollution loophole immediately.
 > "> This is a great Christmas gift. The court has delivered tidings of 
joy to all Americans and a lump of coal to the Bush administration and its 
polluter friends,> ">  said John Walke, director of NRDC> '> s Air Program.
 > The new source review program was designed to curb air pollution from 
industrial facilities by requiring them to install up-to-date pollution 
controls whenever they made physical or operational changes that increased 
air pollution. Many of the nation> '> s older power plants have operated 
long beyond their expected lifespan, polluting at excessively high levels, 
largely because utilities have rebuilt these grandfathered plants over 
time. Often they modified these facilities in ways that increased air 
pollution without complying with Clean Air Act requirements to install 
modern emissions controls. The Environmental Protection Agency launched 
enforcement lawsuits against utility and refinery violators during the 
latter part of the Clinton administration for pollution increases that had 
resulted in millions of tons of air pollution.
 > The Bush administration is trying to derail these enforcement suits and 
eliminate future actions by changing the rules to allow companies to 
virtually rebuild their fa> cilities and boost pollution levels without 
having to meet new source review program requirements. The loophole created 
by the new EPA rule would allow more than 20,000 power plants, refineries 
and other industrial facilities to replace existing equipment with > "> 
functionally equivalent> ">  equipment without undergoing the clean air 
reviews required by the new source review program if the cost of the 
replacement does not exceed 20 percent of that of the entire > "> process 
unit.> ">  This exemption would apply even if a facility> '> s air 
pollution increased by thousands or tens of thousands of tons as a result 
of the replacement.
 > "> Today> '> s victory means that hundreds of thousands of children, who 
would otherwise have suffered countless asthma attacks because of this 
clean air rollback, can now breath more freely,> ">  said Zachary Corrigan, 
staff attorney at U.S. PIRG.
 > ###
 > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
 > Elliott Negin
 > Washington Communications Director
 > Natural Resources Defense Council
 > 1200 New York Ave. NW #400
 > Washington, DC 20005
 > Direct:	202-289-2405
 > Office:	202-289-6868
 > Fax:	202-289-1060
 > Cell:	202-997-1472
 > Email:	ENegin@nrdc.org
 > Web:	http://www.nrdc.org

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