Court Order Cleans Up Plywood Plants, Shuts Down Clean Air Act Off-Ramp
June 19, 2007
The Sierra Club won a major victory that protects the very foundation of the federal Clean Air Act. On June 19, 2007 the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit halted the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to exempt two thirds of all plywood plants from controlling emissions of toxic pollutants. In 2004 the Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, and National Resources Defense Council challenged the EPA’s dangerously lax standard which would have allowed 147 of the 223 plywood plants across the county to avoid taking any steps to control emissions of toxins that are associated with cancer rates, liver and kidney damage, birth defects and adverse reproductive effects.
"EPA is charged with the implementation of the Clean Air Act," said Marti Sinclair, chair of the Sierra Club's Air Committee. "Instead, EPA has taken it prisoner and tortured the heck out of it. The federal courts have once again had to intervene to stop EPA's abuse of the law and to protect the American people from the toxic fallout." The court’s decision vindicates the Club’s position, and makes it clear that these plants must take action to clean up their act this fall. In addition, this victory has far reaching implications in that it shuts down EPA’s attempt to create an illegal off-ramp to the Clean Air Act. In its ruling, the court reminded EPA that it is not authorized to "sidestep what Congress has plainly prohibited."
See other "Safeguarding Communities" cases.