South Dakota has joined North Dakota, Nevada and Texas in filing a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to comply with action mandated by the federal Clean Air Act. The suit was filed in federal district court in North Dakota.
Federal law establishes air quality standards for the ambient air. Federal law also requires EPA to designate areas of the country as meeting, or not meeting, these standards.
In 2011, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources submitted air quality monitoring data to EPA and recommended that EPA designate all counties in South Dakota as meeting a recently revised sulfur dioxide standard.
In February 2013, EPA specifically refused to act, even though it acknowledged that the South Dakota monitoring data showed no violations of the sulfur dioxide standard.
This failure to properly designate the State as in compliance with the standard impacts existing and new businesses in South Dakota that emit sulfur dioxide by burning fuels in their processes. Sulfur dioxide emissions are regulated by DENR air quality permits.
“The EPA’s failure to act is inhibiting small business growth in our state while not protecting air quality. South Dakota’s own regulatory programs depend on proper EPA classifications so that our industry and small businesses are not burdened with unnecessary air quality controls,” said Marty Jackley, South Dakota Attorney General.