Scott Pruitt Faces New Lawsuit for Illegal Repeal of “Once In, Always In” Rule Restricting Toxic Air Pollution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2018
Contact: stateimpactcenter@nyu.edu

Washington, D.C.— California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a new lawsuit against Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for its illegal attempt to repeal the “Once In, Always In” policy that requires major industrial sources of hazardous air pollutants to permanently keep toxics pollution controls in place. Attorney General Becerra is “urging the Court to invalidate EPA’s repeal, because it contravenes the intent of Congress expressed in the Clean Air Act and it constitutes an arbitrary and capricious reversal of the Agency’s position.” The California Air Resources Board joined Attorney General Becerra in filing suit in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Instead of prioritizing the health of hardworking Americans, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to let major polluters off the hook. That is unconscionable, and it is illegal,” said Attorney General Becerra. “If the ‘Once In, Always In’ policy is rescinded, children in California and around the country – particularly those who must live near the polluting plant or factory – may grow up in an environment with tons of additional hazardous pollutants in the air they breathe. California will not allow that to happen. The EPA must be held accountable.”

“Scott Pruitt will leave behind a thin record of accomplishment because of his inability to follow the law,” said David J. Hayes, executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center. “In addition to working to dismantle rules he doesn’t like, Administrator Pruitt is shirking his core responsibility to enforce our environmental laws. Attempting to rescind the ‘Once In, Always In’ enforcement policy under the Clean Air Act is particularly reprehensible because it would enable companies to lift controls and increase emissions of toxic substances from petroleum refineries and chemical plants, endangering the health of the most vulnerable residents who live nearby.”

BACKGROUND

A February 2018 State Energy & Environmental Impact Center report, “State Attorneys General: 13 Months of Critical Actions,” shows that state attorneys general have taken more than 80 actions to advance and defend progressive clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies since January 2017. 

ABOUT THE STATE ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT CENTER: The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advance clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/state-impact.