After Further Review: The 1-Hour SO2 NAAQS Stands
Posted: February 13th, 2013Author: All4 Staff
The request for a hearing of an appeal in the case ASARCO LLC v. EPA has been shot down by the Supreme Court. ASARCO’s original challenge to the 1-hour sulfur dioxide (SO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) was rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court, which decided to uphold the 1-hour NAAQS promulgated by U.S. EPA in August 2010. The smelting industry company requested that the Supreme Court review the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision, but that request has now been rejected. ASARCO and other industry groups have challenged the SO2 NAAQS under the pretense that U.S. EPA set a standard that was far too stringent and that has not been demonstrated to be any more protective to sensitive populations than the original SO2 NAAQS levels. U.S. EPA is required to set the NAAQS at a level that will protect public health with an “adequate margin of safety”. According to ASARCO, the 75 parts per billion (ppb) standard selected by U.S. EPA went above and beyond the necessary level of protection. ASCARCO has argued that during research, U.S. EPA selected only carefully selected data points to support a more stringent standard while ignoring other evidence. We submitted comments on the 1-hour SO2 NAAQS and agree with ASARCO’s positions and that of many other commenters on the standard. U.S. EPA continues to stand by the research, claiming that data points were selected with the interest of human health in mind. Smelting industry owners have expressed concern that some facilities may have to shut down, as the cost to comply with the SO2 NAAQS will be excessive. The Supreme Court’s rejection of the SO2 appeal does not bode well for a similar appeal that has been filed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to address the 1-hour NO2 NAAQS. Stay tuned to ALL4’s blog to see if the court’s EPA-friendly streak continues.