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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Approves Review Plan for Mill Emissions

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to review air pollution standards governing kraft pulp mills in the face of a lawsuit.

Such mills convert wood into pulp and emit hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and other pollutants.

The current Clean Air Act standards governing kraft pulp mills regulate only emissions of particulates and sulfur.

They were last issued in 1978, and activists say that the government has failed in its duty to the standards every eight years.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and Port Townshend Airwatchers sued over a year ago to compel review, and the parties reached a settlement in August 2012.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalez-Rodgers approved the consent decree last week, giving the EPA until May 15 to review kraft pulp mill standards.

During the upcoming review process, the EPA will have to provide status reports every 90 days summarizing its progress and explaining any difficulties.

By May 15, the EPA must either revise the kraft pulp mills rules or publish a determination explaining why revisions are not necessary.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and Port Townshend Airwatchers may still pursue legal action against the EPA in the event that the EPA does not revise the rules.

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