|RECENT FEDERAL DECISIONS|
Ninth Circuit Provides Guidance on the Interpretation of a State Implementation Plan under the Clean Air Act
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Safe Air for Everyone v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ___F.3d___
Petitioners challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to approve an amendment to that “state implementation plan” (SIP) authorizing farmers to burn the reside left in their fields after harvesting their crops. The Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes the creation of air quality standards for a number of pollutants, including particulate matter. To implement these standards, the CAA requires states to submit an SIP, subject to EPA review, proposing methods for achieving air quality. A preexisting Idaho SIP prohibited open burning generally and lacked any exception allowing farmers to burn their residue crops. EPA improperly interpreted the Idaho SIP as not banning field burning, and EPA approved of the exception on basis of this interpretation. As administrative review is limited to agency reasoning in making its decision, the Ninth Circuit granted petitioners’ review and remand request due to EPA’s faulty reasoning.
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Safe Air for Everyone v. U.S. EPA