In a surprising decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld by a 2-1 vote EPA's NOX SIP Call, a plan to force 22 states reduce NOX emissions in order to reduce regional transport of ground-level ozone. In light of the court's decision last year to indefinately stay the deadline for states to submit their NOX control plans, Friday's decision stunned both supporters and opponents alike. An appeal against Friday's ruling is likely.
It is unclear what will happen next. EPA had originally set September 1999 as the deadline for states to submit their implementation plans and it is uncertain how much time EPA will now give states to prepare their SIPs or whether EPA will delay the SIP call's effective date, originally set for May 2003. It is also uncertain whether the indefinate stay on SIP submissions is still in effect since Friday's ruling did not appear to technically lift last year's ruling.
RMB Consulting &