US Environmental Protection Agency faces lawsuits over new clean air guidelines

April 22, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is facing lawsuits, because it missed its own deadline to issue final rules to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants in Arizona and other states. The goal is to clean up particulates that contribute to haze over Grand Canyon and other national parks.

A dozen states and three environmental groups say they will sue the EPA because it failed to release the clean air guidelines on April 13. The Sierra Club is one of the environmental groups threatening to file suit within 60 days if the EPA doesn’t release the rules soon. Sandy Bahr is director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter in Arizona.

“Unfortunately sometimes it takes legal action to get the government to follow its own laws including the Environmental Protection Agency, and meanwhile you have more and more pollution into the atmosphere," Bahr said.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced in January that the state plans to file its own legal challenge to the rules.

Officials at the Cholla, Apache and Coronado coal-fired power plants in Arizona said the rules would require them to spend billions of dollars for the clean air upgrades, an expense that would be passed on to consumers.   

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