PA Files Challenge to New Source Review Revisions

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, January 30, 2003 (ENS) - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging changes by the Bush administration to the new source review provisions of the Clean Air Act.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the revisions to the new source review rules, which deal with the construction or modification of large industrial sources of pollution, including power plants.

"We realize that the new source review program is not perfect and that changes may be needed, but these changes by the EPA are troubling for Pennsylvania," said acting DEP secretary Kathleen McGinty. "We believe that challenging these new regulations is in the best interest of the health of all Pennsylvanians. Moreover, we are concerned that Pennsylvania businesses could be responsible for the cleanup of pollution carrying into the Commonwealth from other upwind states, placing such businesses at a competitive disadvantage."

Several states, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, have filed a joint petition challenging the new rules on the day they were published. After extensive review of the new regulations with respect to Pennsylvania's particular priorities and interests, DEP chose to file its own petition.

"While we share the same concerns other states have about EPA's rule changes, we want our own seat at the table to help resolve these issues," said McGinty.

Pennsylvania already implements an approved program under the State Implementation Plan that was in place prior to the new changes proposed by the EPA. The DEP wants to ensure that it retains the authority to adopt new source review provisions necessary to achieve and maintain ambient air quality standards.

A number of states, including California, Delaware, Oregon and Washington are also looking at filing their own petition challenging the EPA's new source review rules.

"We also plan to join other states in a separate, administrative petition asking EPA to reconsider its decision on the new rules," McGinty said. "Part of that action may involve asking the courts to stay implementation of the new rules that is now set for March 3, 2003."