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EPA Good Neighbor Act Two for One Pruitt broke the law, again

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Posted on June 14 2018

I just don’t recall, not that I’m aware of, here 

To swamp or not to swamp. here

I broke the law but my Master is very happy with my job performance, here

I mean who among us hasn’t lied to Congress, here

Arevwe at an official baker’s dozen with Pruitt scandals, here 

EPA Clean Air Act...


Not to be overly simplistic but this Act really is exactly what it says it is, Clean Air.

Some historical background:

November 15, 1990 the Clean Air Act was revised (known as the 1900 Amendment), this Law passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.


Specifically the amendments were designed to curb four major threats to the environment and to the health of millions of Americans:

Acid Rain

Urban air pollution

Toxic air emissions,

and stratospheric ozone depletion.

The amendments also established a national operating permits program to make the law more workable, and strengthened enforcement to help ensure better compliance with the Act.

See November 11 2015 EPA Executive Summary, found here. You can read the six pollutants that the EPA (hopefully) continues to monitor, found here.

What most Americans are unfamiliar with is pursuant to Public Law 102-532, 7 USC §5409, Congress established the Good Neighbor Environmental Board (GNEB). This board’s sole purpose is to research and evaluate EPA’s enforcement (or lack there of under the Trump Administration). of the Clean Air Act.

You can read the full scope & statutory authority via the Government Publishing Office, found here


As some of you know, I created countless twitter threads regarding the extensive litigation against the EPA. Sadly that data and work is gone. However I’m confident most of you remember the multiple lawsuits, specifically those filed by States Attorneys General (AGs). The June 2017 EPA Final Rule making that was the actual catalyst for numerous lawsuits, found here


The importance and critical role that each State AGs have under the current Administration can not be emphasized enough. We are 509+ days in to the Trump Administration and it is crystal clear that the House of Representatives and our US Senate have unilaterally abdicate their Constitutional Role and refuse to be the Check and Balance of the Executive Branch. It is confounding 

Congress is given 27 specific powers under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. Colloquially known as the enumerated powers, to be the oversight:

    • rights to collect taxes,
    • regulate foreign and domestic commerce
    • coin money
    • declare war, support an army and navy,
    • establish lower federal courts.

In addition to the aforementioned, Congress has the power to:


    • admit new states to the Union (Article IV, Section 3)
    • propose amendments to the Constitution (Article V)
    • collect federal income taxes (Sixteenth Amendment)
    • enforce protection and extension of civil rights (Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth amendments).

Article I, Section 8,not so effectionately known as the elastic clause. Partly because this sentence is viewed as Congress stretching its powers.

The Congress shall have Power ... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof...


The current Congress won’t Act,

therefore State AGs must ...


🌎April 6 2018 EPA v AGs🌎

Case No 3:17-cv-0693

Link to the December 2017 Complaint can be found via the NY AG office, found here. Essentially dirty air causes significant health issues, particularly for children and our older population.

According to EPA, the 2015 updated smog standards will improve public health protection – particularly for at-risk groups such as children, older adults, people of all ages who have lung diseases like asthma, and people who are active outdoors, especially outdoor workers. In fact, the EPA conservatively estimated that meeting the new smog standards would result in net annual public health benefits of up to $4.5 billion starting in 2025 (not including California), while also preventing approximately:

  • 316 to 660 premature deaths;
  • 230,000 asthma attacks in children;
  • 160,000 missed school days;
  • 28,000 missed work days;
  • 630 asthma-related emergency room visits; and
  • 340 cases of acute bronchitis in children.


“Over and over again, the Trump EPA puts polluters before its responsibility to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Over 115 million Americans – including at least one in three New Yorkers – are breathing dangerous levels of smog pollution. By continuing to ignore its legal obligations to cut this dangerous pollution, the Trump EPA is turning a blind eye to public health – and the law. Attorneys General will continue to fight back to protect our residents and our states.”

The Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, and the City of Chicago, filed a lawsuit U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Essentially arguing that EPA Administrator E. Scott Pruit and the Trump Administration broke the comment, notice and enforcement laws. Link to lawsuit found here.

Methane & Air Quality 

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, warming the climate about 80-times more than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. Oil and gas operations – production, processing, transmission, and distribution – are the largest single industrial source of methane emissions in the U.S. and the second largest industrial source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions behind only electric power plants.  Based on EPA data, the Environmental Defense Fund estimates that roughly $1.5 billion worth of natural gas – enough to heat over 5 million homes – leaks or is intentionally released from the oil and gas supply chain each year. The logic of continuing to allow leaks and intentional discharges of methane is especially dubious, as methane itself is a valuable product, being the primary component of natural gas.  


I refer you to pages 5 & 6, paragraphs 25 thru 28, the main argument in the the AGs lawsuit. Pursuant to 42 U.S. Code § 7410 - State implementation plans for national primary and secondary ambient air quality standards, see GPO link for the full statutory language found here.

25. Section 111 of the Act requires EPA to develop air pollution control performance standards that apply to specific categories of stationary sources. Section 111(b) requires the Administrator to list categories of stationary sources that the Administrator finds “cause[], or contribute[] significantly to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” 42 U.S.C. § 7411(b)(1)(A). The Administrator then must establish “standards of performance” for emissions of air pollutants from new and modified sources within each such category (“new source performance standards” or “NSPS”). Id. § 7411(b)(1)(B).

27. When EPA establishes performance standards for new sources in a particular source category, EPA is also required under section 111(d) and applicable regulations to publish guidelines for controlling emissions from existing sources in that source category, subject to two narrow exceptions not applicable here. EPA’s regulations provide that such guidelines will be issued “[c]oncurrently upon or after proposal of [section 111(b)] standards of performance for the control of a designated pollutant from affected facilities.” 40 C.F.R. § 60.22(a).

28. After EPA issues final guidelines for existing sources for a designated pollutant, states have nine months to develop and submit state plans containing emission standards for control of that pollutant from designated facilities within the state. 40 C.F.R. § 60.23(a)(1). EPA must then take final action on the state plans within four months of the due date for those plans. Id. § 60.27(b). If EPA disapproves a state plan (or a portion thereof), it must promulgate a plan for the state within six months after the date required for submission of the plan. Id. § 60.27(d).



There actually is a mandatory “notice”, conversely the Trump Administration certainly acts as if they are above the law and dare I say they seem to pick and choose what laws they want to follow. And the more the Administration thumbs their noses to our Country’s law, expect that the State AGs will step up and hold the Trump Administration accountable. Particularly since Congress has all but abdicated their Constitutional Authority. 


Judiciary two for one EPA & Trump  

 Not to exaggerate but this lawsuit was cut and dry. The EPA and the Trump Administration failed to adhere to numerous statutory requirements.  As such late yesterday afternoon in the SDNY US District Court Judge John G. Koeltl found in favor of the States AGs, noting that the EPA, Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration had in fact violated Federal Laws, the judge stated:

...enforcing states to comply with the "Good Neighbor provision" under the Clean Air Act meant to address smog pollution. 

The Judge noted that the EPA failed to meet an August 2017 deadline that would begin the process of enforcing the law throughout states. Link to Memo & Order here

judge ruled that EPA must take necessary steps to limit the smog that blows into New York and Connecticut from five surrounding states: Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and Virginia.


Maryland & Chesapeake Environment conglomerates

Case No 1:17-cv-02873-JKB

Previously filed a lawsuit in late 2017, the main thrust of the MD AGs suit was they as a State are in complete compliance with the Good Air Quality Act, but neighboring states (West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky etc) are not. And their polluted air carries over into Maryland. Original MD AD lawsuit found, here.

“They’re interested only in the health of businesses that unfortunately are causing the pollution. They are only looking at one side of the equation,” said Frosh, a Democrat. “They are violating the law. They don’t respect the rule of law.”

“Emissions from power plants in surrounding states pollute Maryland’s air and violate the law,” said Attorney General Frosh. “My office has filed suit because the EPA and Administrator Pruitt have failed to stop these violations, ignoring our request to require those power plants to comply with the Clean Air Act. This federal law is supposed to protect everyone against the harm of breathing polluted air, so the federal government must ensure that power plants everywhere be held accountable.”


Essentially AG Frosh Maryland determined that they had no other remedy or recourse or redress but to file lawsuits to compel the EPA to enforce existing laws such as the Clean Air Act.

 The petition filed last November under Section 126 of the Clean Air Act, requested the EPA to issue a finding that power plants located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are in violation of the “good neighbor provision” of the Clean Air Act. The petition alleged that nitrogen oxides emitted by these power plants impede Maryland’s efforts to attain and maintain federal health-based air quality standards. Rather than acting on the petition, the EPA issued a six-month extension to the original 60-day deadline to respond. That extended deadline has now expired without action by the EPA.


Well yesterday a separate Federal Judge ruled in favor of the State of Maryland & the Chesapeake Bay parties. The last paragraph is scorching and brutal:


In closing the Court notes that it does not grant the above extension lightly. On the contrary  the  Court is troubled by the EPA’s apparent unwillingness or inability to comply with its mandatory statutory duties within the timeline set by Congress. If the EPA Administrator believe the timelines set by the CAA are unreasonable, they should seek an extension from Congress (in the form of an amendment), not through the Courts. EPA and the Administrator may not take seriously the deadlines  set by Congress, but this Court expects and demands that they seriously the deadlines set by it.

Accordingly, Defendants are hereby placed on notice that no firth4r delays will be tolerated nor extensions granted.


If Congress won’t be the Check and Balance to the lawless Trump Administration and EPA Administrator Pruitt who’s clearly unfit & ethically bankrupt, then clearly the Judiciary MUST and WILL. -Spicy Out

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