On June 5, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region IV proposed an alternative startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) policy for State Implementation Plans (SIPs). Region IV’s proposal departs from EPA’s current national policy.
In a June 12, 2015 SSM SIP Call Action, EPA established the current national policy, which prohibits the inclusion of SSM exemption and certain affirmative defense provisions in SIPs. In establishing the prohibition of SSM exemption provisions, the EPA relied on the reasoning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) in Sierra Club v. Johnson, 551 F. 3d 1019, 1021 (D.C. Cir. 2008). In the same action, EPA issued a SIP Call to 36 states whose SIPs were found to be substantially inadequate for containing the now-prohibited provisions. North Carolina was one of the 36 states.
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