Friday, June 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

N.C. Can’t Blame Georgia for Pollution Problems

(CN) - The D.C. Circuit blocked North Carolina from blaming Georgia for its own failure to meet federal pollution standards. The panel tossed a challenge accusing the Peachtree state of blowing pollution into North Carolina and causing it to exceed federal emissions limits.

The three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., dismissed North Carolina's challenge for lack of standing, saying the state failed to show that stricter regulations in Georgia would have allowed North Carolina to comply with federal standards.

North Carolina had argued that the Environmental Protection Agency was wrong to remove northern Georgia from stricter ozone emissions restrictions in 1998.

The EPA first implemented the restrictions when nearby Birmingham and Memphis were having difficulty meeting federal standards. Once those states showed signs of compliance, the ruling states, the EPA decided to lift the restrictions on northern Georgia.

North Carolina could not show that reapplying stricter standards in northern Georgia would allow it to meet its own eight-hour ozone requirements, the circuit panel ruled, because there was evidence that Georgia was already capable of meeting federal emissions standards by using EPA credits, making it exempt from liability.

"North Carolina offered no data and cited no statute, regulation or EPA policy that would bar Georgia from accessing any (emissions) credits," Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote.

Thus, North Carolina failed to show that it would be injured by the more lenient standards in northern Georgia, the court concluded, rejecting the state's petition for review.


Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.