Officials with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced Oct. 12 that they intend to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failure to take timely action on the state’s implementation plan for regional haze and for splitting the decision on Arizona’s state-wide plan into two parts.
Arizona submitted a proposed air quality plan on Feb. 28, 2011, to improve visibility in protected national parks and wilderness areas throughout the state. EPA was required by the Clean Air Act to approve or disapprove the entire plan by Aug. 28 but has proposed action on only part of the plan related to three power plants.
“The regional haze program is about improving visibility by 2064, not about protecting public health,” said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. “We would have much preferred to work with EPA as a partner to make sure the visibility benefits are justified by the costs, but because we have been cut out of the process we feel as though we have no other choice but to file suit to protect Arizona’s rights. EPA’s decision to split the decision on a state-wide plan into multiple parts simply makes no sense and is contrary to the Clean Air Act.”