A group of “multi-sector manufacturing companies that operate facilities across the United States” has reportedly sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking to reverse its decision to limit the application of a recent Sixth Circuit ruling when determining whether separate operations are part of a single “facility” under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Nat’l Envtl. Dev. Association’s Clean Air Project v. EPA, No. 13-1035 (D.C. Cir. 2/19/13).
In Summit Petroleum Corp. v. EPA, Nos. 09-4348, 10-4572 (6th Cir. 8/7/12), the court held that EPA could not aggregate a natural gas plant and gas wells operated by the same entity at some distance from the plant into a single facility covering 43 square miles to apply CAA permitting requirements and emission limits. Additional details about the decision appear in Issue 422 of this Update. A December 21, 2012, EPA memorandum, summarized in Issue 438 of this Update, indicated that the agency would follow the Summit Petroleum standards in those states within the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction only, but would continue to follow its prior interpretation elsewhere. The suit seeks to force application of the Sixth Circuit decision nationwide. See Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Reporter, February 22, 2013.