On May 31st, 2018 the states of California, Illinois, and Maryland, along with 5 other states, filed suit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Plaintiffs allege that, in failing to enforce Obama-era regulations concerning emissions from landfills, EPA has violated the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). The rules in question are the “Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills” and the “2016 Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills,” which were promulgated as a part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and specifically designed to reduce methane emissions from solid waste landfills. Together, these rules “aim to control emissions of volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, carbon dioxide, and methane from municipal solid waste landfills (landfills).”
These rules took effect on October 28th, 2016 yet, instead of enforcing them, EPA communicated that “it has no intent to respond to state plans or to impose a federal plan on states that did not impose a state plan.” As a part of the mandates of the statute, states were required to submit implementation plans by May 30, 2017. Following this, EPA had four months to either approve or disapprove any state plans and six months to impose a federal plan on non-complying states. According to Plaintiffs’ complaint, the fact that EPA failed to meet either of these deadlines constitutes an actionable violation under CAA. As a result, Plaintiffs seek “a declaration that EPA’s actions and inactions have violated the Clean Air Act, and a mandatory injunction requiring EPA to immediately implement and enforce the Emission Guidelines.”
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