Proposed settlement prods EPA action on incinerator emissions

By Sean Reilly | 04/04/2024 01:18 PM EDT

The agency would finalize federal pollution-cutting plans and impose them on states that have failed to submit blueprints of their own.

A municipal waste incinerator in Massachusetts.

The Wheelabrator incineration plant in Saugus, Massachusetts. A lawsuit deal would force EPA action on incinerator standards. Sam LaRussa/Flickr

States slow to address key EPA incinerator emission limits would face the prospect of a federal crackdown if a newly proposed lawsuit settlement goes into effect.

Under the terms of the draft consent decree, EPA would have to finalize federal implementation plans for two sets of incinerator standards on a series of rolling deadlines extending into mid-2027. The agency could then impose those plans on states that have failed to submit approved pollution-cutting blueprints of their own.

The tentative deal, which still needs a judge’s approval, would end a Sierra Club lawsuit brought early last year in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that alleged EPA was being unreasonably slow in issuing the Clean Air Act plans. EPA never seriously contested the allegations and settlement talks began within months, court papers indicate.


Implementation of air pollution protections “is long overdue,” Deena Tumeh, a senior associate attorney for Earthjustice involved in the suit, said in a statement Thursday.