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Arizona loses EPA appeal over improving visibility at parks

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

PHOENIX (AP) — An appeals court has ruled against the state of Arizona in a case challenging emissions-control measures imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in a bid to improve visibility at federal parks.

The decision released Monday marked the third time that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected challenges made by the state and companies to the federal regulations.

The previous decisions concluded the EPA had acted within its authority when it disapproved of portions of an emission-reducing plan developed by the state. The latest ruling focused on technical challenges to the rules.

The case arose over a dispute between the state and EPA over Arizona’s emissions-controlling plan, which was produced in 2011. The EPA determined it could do a better job of improving visibility so it replaced elements of the state plan that federal officials deemed problematic.

In the latest appeal, the 9th Circuit concluded that the challengers’ objections to two rules weren’t properly made because those concerns weren’t first raised with the EPA during a comment period.

The remaining challenges in the latest appeal centered on claims that the EPA was arbitrary when it imposed emission controls on a cement kiln and copper smelters. The appeals court found the agency didn’t act arbitrarily when it imposed those measures and instead was engaged in a valid rule-making.

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