1. AIR POLLUTION:
Court ruling casts doubt on future of EPA monitoring program
A federal court today sided with the Sierra Club in a challenge to a U.S. EPA program that exempts some new facilities from air monitoring and emissions requirements. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled unanimously that EPA exceeded its statutory authority when it set up a significant impact level (SIL) and significant monitoring concentration (SMC) for fine particle pollution from new facilities. The programs allow new facilities to obtain an exemption from Clean Air Act soot standards if they show their emissions will have only a minimal impact on air quality in the area.