Fairbanks, Alaska (KINY) - Despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to exclude the State of Alaska, on Jan. 9, a U.S. District Court judge granted the State’s motion to intervene in a case that involves regulation of the Fairbanks region’s air quality.
Despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to exclude the State of Alaska, on Jan. 9, a U.S. District Court judge granted the State’s motion to intervene in a case that involves regulation of the Fairbanks region’s air quality.
“Alaska needs to be a part of this, because Alaskans know best how to balance taking care of our communities and the environment,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “We want to ensure that costly and impractical control measures potentially imposed by the EPA aren’t adversely impacting our communities with no actual benefit.”
The lawsuit, Citizens for Clean Air v. Michael S. Regan, seeks to compel the EPA to approve or disapprove the state implementation plan (“SIP”) developed by the State of Alaska for the Fairbanks North Star Borough fine particulate matter (PM-2.5) nonattainment area under the Clean Air Act.
The EPA argued that the State completed its role and has “no protectable interest in the timing of EPA’s action.”
But as the State argues in its motion: “Indeed, only the State could articulate to the Court the technical complications that the State continues to face when attempting to implement the previous version of CMAQ (Community Multiscale Air Quality Modeling System) and the amount of time and State resources that were expended in attempting to make an outdated modeling program work in a subarctic environment to demonstrate attainment.”
The State argued, and the court agreed, the State has a “significantly protectable interest in obtaining a correct determination regarding the deadline by which the EPA must approve or disapprove its SIP, its exclusion from this litigation would impair or impede its ability to protect that interest, and it does not appear that the EPA is inclined to pursue the arguments Alaska has raised.”
Jason Brune, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, (DEC), said “DEC is committed to bringing healthy air to North Pole and Fairbanks. However, we will not sit back and let the EPA mandate hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs to Interior residents without the return of associated health benefits.”
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