In a July 23 opinion, the D.C. Circuit Court has remanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) secondary standard for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) while upholding the primary standard. The Court remanded the secondary standard (which is identical to the primary standard of 0.075 ppm) because EPA failed to adequately explain why it was sufficient to protect “public welfare,” which is the standard for secondary NAAQS, versus the “public health” standard for primary NAAQS. The Court explained that while EPA had determined the revised primary standard would be sufficient to protect public welfare, it arrived at this conclusion by comparing the primary standard to a proposed secondary standard that EPA never adequately justified as compared to other secondary standards recommended to EPA by agency staff and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. Per the Court’s ruling, the existing secondary standard will remain in place while EPA either develops further explanation or takes it under reconsideration. A copy of the Court’s opinion is available here.
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