Ninth Circuit Rejects U.S. EPA’s Approval of Ozone Plan for San Joaquin Valley

September 2021

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 1, Number 11


On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) approval of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s (“Air District”) air quality plan to address ozone in the San Joaquin Valley was arbitrary and capricious and inconsistent with the Clean Air Act.  See Ass’n of Irritated Residents v. U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency, Case No. 19-71223 (9th Cir. Aug. 26, 2021).  More specifically, the court concluded that a contingency measure in the Air District’s state implementation plan (“SIP”) for meeting the air quality standard for ozone that would be triggered if other provisions in the SIP did not achieve further progress towards meeting the standard was inadequate and EPA did not provide a reasonable explanation for approving the measure.  The Air District must now reevaluate the measures set forth in its SIP to address ozone in the San Joaquin Valley.

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