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be made public in understandable form. That is, emission data must show actual or estimated emissions vs. allowable emissions.
EPA also requires the State agency to have an air quality monitoring system for emergency episodes; it must be in operation no later than one year after the implementation plan is approved. The State agency must also
have a broader monitoring system in operation no later than two years after approval of the implementation plan.
Your group can check to see if those monitoring systems are adequate and in operation on schedule. Monitoring data must be made available to the public, so you can also check to see if the air in your community is indeed getting cleaner.
Know the deadlines and exceptions
month extensions to meet secondary standards for some pollutants. The extensions were subsequently challenged in Federal Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Final court decision was still pending as this publication was printed in early 1973. Check your control agency, or EPA, to find out
The Clean Air Act of 1970 contains
deadlines for action to achieve cleaner air. However, the law permits certain extensions and postponements. For example:
Primary Standards—The law requires a State to meet national primary air quality standards "as expeditiously as practicable," but no later than three
an implementation plan is approved. However, the law allows a Governor, at the time the State submits its implementation plan, to request an extension to five years for heavily polluted areas. EPA is authorized to grant this extension if the State shows that one or more pollution sources will be unable to comply within three years because necessary control technology is not available. But the State must meet the primary standards within five years.
Secondary Standards—The Clean Air Act requires a State to meet secondary standards within "reasonable time" after implementation plan approval. For controlling sulfur oxides and particulates, “reasonable time" is defined as not longer than three years unless there's good cause for postponement. And if good cause is shown, or if reasonably available control technology will not permit the secondary standard to be reached, “reasonable time" will depend on the degree of emission reduction needed to achieve the standard and the social, economic and technical problems involved in doing so.
(Note: EPA granted several States two-year extensions to meet primary standards for some pollutants, and 18
Need information? What's the status of the implementation plan to reduce air pollution in your community? What can be done to assure its effectiveness? What can you do to assure its success?
State and local air pollution control agencies are the prime sources of this and other information. For a list of State control agencies see Appendix E.
Additional information is available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Specialists in public affairs and in air pollution programs can be contacted at EPA regional offices (see Appendix G). Inquiries can also be directed to EPA's Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20460.
if your State was given an extension and to find out the effect of the court challenge on the status of the extension.)
Source Compliance—The Clean Air Act also allows a Governor to ask EPA for a one-year postponement in applying its control strategy to a specific source. EPA must grant the extension if it determines:
• that "good faith" efforts have been made to comply with the original plan, • that the particular
for which the extension is sought is unable to comply because the "necessary technology” or alternative control methods are not available,
• that the State will use other means to reduce the impact on public health of emissions from the source, and
• that continued operation of the pollution source is essential to “national security” or to public health or welfare.
EPA will hold a public hearing on any request for a one-year postponement, but not earlier than one year before the originally scheduled date for compliance. EPA's decision on any re
quest for a one-year postponement may be appealed in Federal court “by any interested person."
(A one-year postponement on source compliance differs from a variance. A variance is usually requested by a polluter. A postponement must be requested by a Governor-in effect, on behalf of a polluter.)
Your citizen group should make every effort to learn if your State intends to seek one-year postponement of compliance for any polluter. Obtain all available information and determine if a postponement is justified. Seek clear definitions of such terms as "good faith " and "necessary technology."
If you think a postponement is not justified, explain why. If the agency nevertheless seeks the postponement, present your case to the Governor; he must sign the request for postponement. And if the request is submitted to EPA, your group should take part in the public hearing that EPA will hold. And, of course, EPA's decision can be appealed to the courts.
w Your legal rights
The Clean Air Act makes several
legal tools available to citizens. As already noted, any interested person can go to court to challenge a source compliance postponement granted by EPA. Also, EPA and State and local control agencies must make information on air quality and emissions available to the public. (See Appendix C.)
In addition, the 1970 law gives any “person" the right to bring a civil suit against any other person" violating an emission standard or limitation under the Act, or an EPA or State order issued under the Act. A “person” is defined as “an individual, corporation, partnership, association, State, municipality and political subdivision of a State."
The Act also gives individuals the right to file suit against the EPA Administrator if he fails perform a mandatory act required by law.
By giving citizens this broad right to sue, the Clean Air Act provides a weapon of last resort to compel action toward cleaner air. There are conditions on this right, however:
• Anyone intending to bring suit under the Act must give 60 days' notice to the EPA Administrator, to the State in which the alleged violation occurs and to the alleged polluter. If a violation of a hazardous pollutant standard or enforcement order issued by EPA is alleged, the suit may be brought immediately after giving notice, without waiting 60 days. (See Appendix D.)
• Citizens cannot file suit if EPA or the State "has commenced and is dili
gently prosecuting a civil action" against a violator to require compliance. However, anyone may intervene in such a Federal or State suit. And EPA may intervene in any suit brought by citizens or a State.
The Clean Air Act authorizes a court to award the costs of litigation, “includ. ing reasonable attorney and expert witness fees,” to any party in a suit, as the court thinks appropriate. And a court may require the person filing suit to post a bond.
Citizens have long had the right to file suit under nuisance laws for damages to health and property caused by a polluter. That right is not taken away by the Clean Air Act. What the Act does is extend the legal rights of citizens by giving them the additional right to sue a polluter for violating a compliance schedule, to sue a State or local control agency for failing to enforce its regulations and to sue EPA.
The possibility of a citizen suit can stimulate polluters and governments to comply with control laws and regulations.
Two other Federal laws also offer citizens legal tools that can be helpful in campaigns for cleaner air. They are the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Freedom of Information Act of 1966. Some States have enacted similar legislation.
A note of caution, however, for citizen groups that believe they have no alternative but to take court action: do so only with competent legal assistance. Consult lawyers in your organization or nearest public interest law group.
Telling your story
A wide range of educational techniques
can be used by citizen groups to spur enforcement of State implementation plans for cleaner air. These include newsletters, press releases, newspaper ads, workshops, seminars, testifying at public hearings held by control agencies and legislative bodies, sending speakers to appear before other organizations and writing letters to the press and public officials. (These and other techniques are discussed at greater length in another EPA publication, “Don't Leave It All To The Experts.")
Indeed, the success achieved by many responsible citizen organizations in getting their story before the public demonstrates that most need little guidance on how to communicate. Many use the talents and skills of members who are experienced public relations practitioners. Many groups have long maintained good relations with the press in their communities, and there is no need here to emphasize how this is done.
On the air One avenue of communication not widely used by citizen organizations is the broadcast media—radio and television. They should be used, for they offer citizen organizations powerful forms of public communication on the success or the failure of a State's implementation plan.
Commercial radio and television stations are required by the Federal Communications Commission to make available to community organizations and causes a certain amount of “public serv
ice time.” Your group should explore the availability of public service time.
Public radio and television stations also should be contacted. They devote considerable time to community programs, and often seek to present public discussion of community problems.
The progress of your State's implementation plan to achieve cleaner air in your community may well be a subject public radio or television would like to cover, perhaps as a monthly report to the public.
Still another resource that should not be overlooked is the college and university radio station. Student broadcasters quite often are sympathetic to environmental improvement.
Sine, you might say, but how does your group get on radio or television? Try the direct approach. Visit the manager or program director of the commercial, public and college radio and television stations in your community and ask them for broadcast time.
If the answer is yes, what do you do? How do you put together a suitable show? The station program staff will help, of course, but you might keep these guidelines in mind:
1. The program should have a clear objective: to inform the public on how the State's implementation plan is working, and to stimulate action for cleaner air. People know air pollution is a problem and that there are pollution control laws; they are interested in action. So is your group; that's why it exists. So zero in on specifics.
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