EPA Must Regulate All Toxic Air Emissions From Pulp Mills

Industrial pulp mill in Port Townsend, Washington. Washington, D.C. — Today, in a win for clean air and communities around the country, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ensure that its pollution standards for the pulp mill industry include limits on all the toxic pollutants that pulp mills emit, not just the ones EPA chooses to control. For almost 20 years, EPA had defied the Clean Air Act by leaving many of pulp mills’ emissions — including highly toxic metals like mercury, organic pollutants like dioxins, and acid gases like hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride — completely unregulated. Earthjustice, on behalf of community groups in Louisiana and Washington state and the Sierra Club, argued that the agency violated federal law when it failed to bring these standards into compliance with the law. EPA claimed that it was authorized, but not required, to set limits for these uncontrolled pollutants. The D.C. Court of Appeals rejected that argument and affirmed that the EPA has a mandatory duty under the Clean Air Act to address all toxic air pollutants. “Communities living near pulp mills badly needed the protections that […]

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