SoCal Air Gets a Pass From 9th Circuit

By MATT REYNOLDS, Courthouse News, 3/12/15 – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The 9th Circuit on Wednesday declined environmentalists’ calls for tougher regulation of smog in Southern California, ruling that federal standards to limit the pollution are adequate.
A provision of the Clean Air Act requires that major polluters, including power plants and refineries, pay emission fees in parts of the South Coast Air Basin with the dirtiest air.
South Coast Air Quality Management District substituted that program with another that draws on other financial sources, including state and federal grants.
After the Environmental Protection Agency approved the alternate program, National Resources Defense Council and Communities for a Better Environment filed a petition of review in early 2013, arguing that the district program did not do enough to reduce pollution from stationary sources in the South Coast Air Basin, in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
South Coast Air Quality Management District counsel Barbara Baird said that a ruling in the groups’ favor would require about 300 major stationary sources of pollution to pay combined emission fees of $30 million to $50 million.
“It would have been a hardship on some of the public agencies in this area, if we had not been able to use this alternative method of compliance.” Baird said in an interview. “We think the plaintiffs are just wrong if they assume they would get something better out of the other program than they get out of this one.”
The New England Journal of Medicine this month published a study concluding that air pollution has been “trending downward progressively over the past several decades in Southern California.”… (more)

I could be wrong, but I think SF just got hit with a $30 million fee. Do we have to lose jobs to fight the fee?

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