D.C. Circuit Transfers Sierra Club PFAS Case to Fifth Circuit

On August 26, 2022, the D.C. Circuit denied the Sierra Club’s petition to review certain EPA decisions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Sierra Club had sued the EPA in 2020, claiming that the EPA did not have the authority to lift anti-backsliding requirements for the Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas. After reviewing the CAA’s statutory text, the D.C. Circuit determined that the Sierra Club had not brought the petition in the proper venue and transferred the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for further proceedings.

Regulatory Background

  • The CAA requires the EPA to promulgate certain national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for airborne pollutants. The EPA must review and revise the NAAQS every five years. After the EPA sets a specific NAAQS, each state is responsible for implementing that standard by adopting a state implementation plan (SIP) which specifies the state’s chosen method for achieving or maintaining the NAAQS. The EPA must also approve the state’s plan.

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