A federal court in the District of Columbia has denied an EPA request for a 15-month delay to issue air pollution emission standards for industrial boilers and incinerators and ordered the agency to promulgate new standards by February 21, 2011. Sierra Club v. Jackson, No. 01-1537 (D.D.C. 1/20/11).

Under a prior order, the agency had until June 15, 2009, to promulgate the emission standards, Sierra Club v. Johnson, 444 F. Supp. 2d 46 (D.D.C. 2006), but the court granted a number of unopposed requests for extension. EPA then sought an extension until April 13, 2012, to allow it to re-propose and issue standards for major source boilers, certain area source boilers and commercial and institutional solid waste incineration units. EPA requested in the alternative an extension until June 15, 2011, to “fully respond to the 4,800 public comments it received” on the proposed rules issued in April 2010.

According to the court, “[t]he policy arguments EPA raises have no place in a case where Congress has mandated expedition, and its statutorily-mandated deadlines have long since passed.” The deadlines were put in place after EPA lost a challenge to the prior administration’s handling of pollution from industrial boilers.