On December 3rd, the DC Circuit heard oral argument in a Clean Air Act case that may set important precedents for EPA’s “risk and technology reviews” of existing Clean Air Act emission standards. National Association for Surface Finishing v. EPA involves a challenge to EPA’s revised chromium emission standards brought by Greenberg Traurig client National Association for Surface Finishing as well as several environmental groups. Several key issues are at stake, including (1) whether EPA is obligated to conduct a completely new MACT analysis as part of an RTR review; (2) what constitutes a “development” in practices, processes or control technologies that can justify reducing emission standards; and (3) whether EPA may impose lower emission limits and thus a more “ample margin of safety” without finding that such lower limits are required to achieve an ample margin of safety. The decision in this case could affect numerous RTR rulemakings that are currently in progress involving several industrial sectors.

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