The Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failure to update nitrogen oxide emissions standards for new gas plants in a timely fashion, saying delays create deadly particle pollution and smog that harm communities.
The agency is required to review the new source performance standards every eight years; according to the lawsuit, the current standards were last finalized in 2006.
“The current NOx limits are therefore badly out of date and come nowhere near reflecting the best emission limits achievable through the use of readily available technology,” the Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club said in a statement.
The groups said new standards must be issued because almost 120 GW of combustion turbine generation capacity will be constructed in the U.S. between 2022 and 2030, citing projections from the Energy Information Administration.
“For years, EPA has failed to revise its NOx standards for new gas plants, creating a loophole that allows plant developers to avoid installing the best widely available emission control technology,” Sierra Club Senior Attorney Andres Restrepo said in a statement. “The agency must waste no time in rectifying this error by setting new and appropriately protective safeguards.”
EPA has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The agency said it would not comment on pending litigation.