On February 22, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice of a proposed partial consent decree in Sierra Club v. Pruitt. This notice is in response to a complaint filed by the Sierra Club in October 2017 to the District of Columbia Court. The complaint alleged that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to assess and report to Congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Energy Independence Security Act’s (EISA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.” The complaint also alleged that Pruitt failed to complete the required anti-backsliding study to determine if RFS program fuels adversely impact air quality. Concerned about Pruitt’s failure to promulgate fuel regulations to prevent potential adverse impacts, the Sierra Club also criticized the former Administrator’s determination that such regulatory measures were even necessary.
In response to these complaints, EPA is now proposing a partial consent decree which would establish a deadline for anti-backsliding studies. EPA is now accepting written comments on the proposed partial consent decree, which must be submitted by March 25, 2019.