Appalachian Power Co v. Envtl. Protection Agency, Nos. 98-1512

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtRandolph
Citation208 F.3d 1015
Parties(D.C. Cir. 2000) Appalachian Power Company, et al., Petitioners v. Environmental Protection Agency, Respondent & 98-1542
Decision Date14 April 2000
Docket Number98-1540,98-1536,98-1538,Nos. 98-1512,98-1537

Page 1015

208 F.3d 1015 (D.C. Cir. 2000)
Appalachian Power Company,
et al., Petitioners
v.
Environmental Protection Agency, Respondent
Nos. 98-1512, 98-1536, 98-1537, 98-1538, 98-1540 & 98-1542
United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
Argued February 8, 2000
Decided April 14, 2000

Page 1016

On Petitions for Review of an Order of the Environmental Protection Agency

Lauren E. Freeman argued the cause for petitioners. With her on the briefs were Henry V. Nickel, Leslie Sue Ritts, Michael H. Levin, Edmund B. Frost, David F. Zoll, Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, John Reese, Charles F. Lettow, Marcilynn A. Burke, L. Burton Davis, William H. Lewis, Michael A. McCord and Ellen Siegler. Michael P. McGovern and Neal J. Cabral entered appearances.

Page 1017

Jon M. Lipshultz, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the briefs were Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General, and Gregory B. Foote, Attorney, Environmental Protection Agency.

Before: Williams, Henderson, and Randolph, Circuit Judges.

Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge Randolph.

Randolph, Circuit Judge:

These consolidated petitions for judicial review, brought by electric power companies, and trade associations representing the nation's chemical and petroleum industry, challenge the validity of portions of an EPA document entitled "Periodic Monitoring Guidance," released in 1998. In the alternative, petitioners seek review of a 1992 EPA rule implementing Title V of the Clean Air Amendments of 1990.

I.

Title V of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act altered the method by which government regulated the private sector to control air pollution. Henceforth, stationary sources of air pollution, or of potential air pollution, must obtain operating permits from State or local authorities administering their EPA-approved implementation plans. The States must submit to EPA for its review all operating permits and proposed and final permits. See 42 U.S.C. S 7661d. EPA has 45 days to object; if it does so, "the permitting authority may not issue the permit," id. S 7661d(b)(3).1 Congress instructed EPA to pass regulations establishing the "minimum elements of a permit program to be administered by any air pollution control agency," including "Monitoring and reporting requirements." 42 U.S.C. S 7661a(b). Under Title V, the Governor of each State could submit to EPA a permit program by November 15, 1993, to comply with Title V and with whatever regulations EPA had promulgated in the interim. See 42 U.S.C. S 7661a(d). This was to be accompanied by a legal opinion from the State's attorney general that the laws of the State contained sufficient authority to authorize the State to implement the program. Id. If a State decided not to participate, or if EPA disapproved the State's program, federal sanctions would kick in, including a cut-off of federal highway funds and an EPA takeover of permit-issuing authority within the State. See Commonwealth of Virginia v. Browner, 80 F.3d 869, 873-74 (4th Cir. 1996).

EPA promulgated rules implementing the Title V permit program in 1992. The rules list the items each State permit program must contain,2 including this one:

(3) Monitoring and related record-keeping and reporting requirements. (i) Each permit shall contain the following requirements with respect to monitoring:

(A) All monitoring and analysis procedures or test methods required under applicable monitoring and testing requirements, including part 64 of this chapter and any other procedures and methods that may be promulgated pursuant to sections 114(a)(3) or 504(b) of the Act. If more than one monitoring or testing requirement applies, the permit may specify a streamlined set of monitoring or testing provisions provided the specified monitoring or testing is adequate to assure compliance at least to the same extent as the monitoring or testing applicable requirements that are not included in the permit as a result of such streamlining;

(B) Where the applicable requirement does not require periodic testing or instrumental or non-instrumental monitoring

Page 1018

(which may consist of record-keeping designed to serve as monitoring), periodic monitoring sufficient to yield reliable data from the relevant time period that are representative of the source's compliance with the permit, as reported pursuant to paragraph(a)(3)(iii) of this section. Such monitoring requirements shall assure use of terms, test methods, units, averaging periods, and other statistical conventions consistent with the applicable requirement. Record keeping provisions may be sufficient to meet the requirements of this paragraph(a)(3)(i)(B) of this section; and

(C) As necessary, requirements concerning the use, maintenance, and, where appropriate, installation of monitoring equipment or methods....40 C.F.R. S70.6(a)(3).

The key language--key because this dispute revolves around it--is in the first sentence of S 70.6(a)(3)(i)(B). Permits contain terms and conditions with which the regulated entities must comply. Some of the terms and conditions--in regulatory lingo, "applicable requirements" (see S 70.6(a)(3)(i)(B))3--consist of emission limitations and standards, State and federal. Experts in the field know that federal emission standards, such as those issued for hazardous air pollutants and new stationary sources, contain far more than simply limits on the amount of pollutants emitted.

Take for instance the following examples drawn at random from the Code of Federal Regulations. The national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants from primary lead smelting is contained in 40 C.F.R. SS 63.1541-.1550. In addition to emission limits,4 the operator must comply with detailed and extensive testing requirements contained in § 63.8 of the regulations, and must monitor certain pressure drops daily; make weekly checks to ensure that dust is being removed from hoppers; perform quarterly inspections of fans, and so forth. Id. S 63.1547. Or consider the standards of performance for new stationary sources contained in 40 C.F.R. part 60, one of the thickest of the dozen or so volumes EPA commands in the C.F.R. In the "beverage can surface coating industry," those subject to these regulations must--if they use "a capture system and an incinerator"--install some sort of "temperature measurement device," properly calibrated and having a specified accuracy stated in terms of degrees Celsius. 40 C.F.R. S 60.494.5 Or if the new source is in the rubber tire manufacturing industry, an operator doing a "green tire spraying operation" using organic solvent-based sprays must install "an organics monitoring device used to indicate the concentration level of organic compounds

Page 1019

based on a detection principle such as infrared ..., equipped with a continuous recorder, for the outlet of the carbon bed." ID. S 60.544(a)(3).

Typically, EPA delegates to the States its authority to require companies to comply with these federal standards. The States incorporate the federal standards in their implementation plans and, under Title V of the 1990 law, the applicable standards become terms and conditions in permits. States too have their own emissions limitations and standards in their implementation plans, which they need in order to comply with national ambient air quality standards. See 40 C.F.R. part 52; Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 846 (1984); Union Electric Co. v. EPA, 427 U.S. 246, 249-50 (1976); Commonwealth of Virginia v. EPA, 108 F.3d 1397, 1406 (D.C. Cir.), modified, 116 F.3d 499 (D.C. Cir. 1997). Petitioners tell us that States may formulate their emission standards not only by limiting the amount of air pollutants, but also by imposing practices, including the monitoring of emissions.6

On one thing the parties are in agreement. If an applicable State emission standard contains no monitoring requirement to ensure compliance, EPA's regulation requires the State permitting agency to impose on the stationary source some sort of "periodic monitoring" as a condition in the permit or specify a reasonable frequency for any data collection mandate already specified in the applicable requirement. According to petitioners this sort of gap-filling is all S 70.6(a)(3)(i)(B)--the so-called periodic monitoring rule--requires of State permit programs. By petitioners' lights, if a federal or State emission standard already contains some sort of requirement to do testing7 from time to time, this portion of the standard must be incorporated in the permit, not changed by the State to conform to EPA's imprecise and evolving notion of what constitutes "periodic monitoring."8Otherwise, State authorities will wind up amending federal emission standards in individual permits, something not even EPA could do without conducting individual rulemakings to amend the regulations containing the federal standards. And with respect to State standards, the State agency will in effect be revising its implementation plan at EPA's behest, without going through the procedures needed to accomplish this. See, e.g., 42 U.S.C. S 7410(k)(5) & (l).

In a document entitled "Periodic Monitoring Guidance for Title V Operating Permits Programs," released in September 1998, EPA took a sharply different view of S 70.6(a)(3) than do petitioners. The "Guidance" was issued over the signature of two EPA officials--the Director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement, and the Director of the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. It is narrative in form, consists of 19 single-spaced, typewritten pages, and is available on EPA's internet web site (www.epa.gov). "Periodic monitoring," the Guidance states, "is required for each emission point at a source subject to title V of the Act that is subject to an applicable requirement, such as a Federal regulation or a SIP emission limitation." Periodic Monitoring...

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    ...Corp. v. Shalala, 127 F.3d 90 (D.C.Cir.1997). Plaintiffs also note that in Appalachian Power Co. v. Environmental Protection Agency, 208 F.3d 1015 (D.C.Cir.2000), the D.C. Circuit held that even a document the Agency termed a "guidance document" could, nevertheless, amount to "agency action......
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    ...formulated in the document ...then the agency's document is for all practical purposes binding." Appalachian Power Co. v. E.P.A., 208 F.3d 1015, 1020-21 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (citation and quotations omitted). Thus, a guidance document or interpretive rule that is treated like a legislative rule......
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177 cases
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • September 29, 2006
    ...be one by which rights or obligations have been determined, or from which legal consequences will flow[.] Appalachian Power Co. v. EPA, 208 F.3d 1015, 1022 (2000) (internal citations and quotation marks Defendant argues that its action in the present case fails to satisfy the second prong o......
  • Doe v. Trump, Civil Action No. 17–1597 (CKK)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • October 30, 2017
    ...by the mere possibility that the President may alter the directives of the Presidential Memorandum. See Appalachian Power Co. v. EPA , 208 F.3d 1015, 1022 (D.C. Cir. 2000) ("[A]ll laws are subject to change. Even that most enduring of documents, the Constitution of the United States, may be......
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    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 24, 2003
    ...Corp. v. Shalala, 127 F.3d 90 (D.C.Cir.1997). Plaintiffs also note that in Appalachian Power Co. v. Environmental Protection Agency, 208 F.3d 1015 (D.C.Cir.2000), the D.C. Circuit held that even a document the Agency termed a "guidance document" could, nevertheless, amount to "agency action......
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    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • October 23, 2015
    ...formulated in the document ...then the agency's document is for all practical purposes binding." Appalachian Power Co. v. E.P.A., 208 F.3d 1015, 1020-21 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (citation and quotations omitted). Thus, a guidance document or interpretive rule that is treated like a legislative rule......
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