Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Court rules EPA must rewrite regional haze plan for Montana

Colstrip Power Plant | Randy Stiles
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will need to improve the regional haze plan for Montana, incorporating more stringent regulations on facilities like Colstrip Power Plant, according to a Tuesday ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court.

"This ruling is a big step in the right direction to achieve clean air in Yellowstone and other iconic national parks in the region," National Parks Conservation Association Clean Air Campaign Manager Ulla Reeves said. "EPA must now follow through and do the right thing to require the most stringent modern pollution controls from Montana's biggest source of air pollution."

Colstrip Power Plant is the largest source of human-caused haze in the state, releasing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dixoxide that can cause health problems including lung issues, increased asthma attacks and higher risk for those with heart disease.

The EPA’s original draft of the regional haze plan made it difficult for the state government to protect the health of both the population and the area's national parks. It was challenged in 2012 by the National Parks Conservation Association, the Montana Information Center and the Sierra Club, which were represented by Earthjustice.

“By itself, Colstrip emits more nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide pollution than the combined emissions of all other pollution sources in the state,” Deputy Director of the Montana Environmental Information Center Anne Hedges said. “We are pleased that the EPA will finally have to consider requiring modern pollution controls at these two old Colstrip units.”

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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