EPA’s Woeful Deadline Performance Raises Questions About Agency Competence, Climate Change Regulations, “Sue and Settle”

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) record of compliance with statutory deadlines established for three core Clean Air Act programs raises serious questions regarding the agency’s competence and discretion.

Since 1993, 98 percent of EPA regulations (196 out of 200) pursuant to these programs were promulgated late, by an average of 2,072 days after their respective statutorily defined deadlines. Currently, 65 percent of the EPA’s statutorily defined responsibilities (212 of 322 possible) are past due by an average of 2,147 days. In addition, the results demonstrate the insidiousness of a practice known as “sue and settle,” whereby the EPA advances the agenda of environmental advocacy groups. This study reviews the EPA’s performance since 1993 in meeting statutory deadlines codified in three core Clean Air Act regulatory programs:

• (1) Responsibility to review National Ambient Air Quality Standards under Clean Air Act Section 109(d)(1);

• (2) Responsibilities to promulgate and review National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants under Clean Air Act Sections 112(d)(4), 112(d)(5), 112(d)(6), and 112(f)(2); and

• (3) Responsibility to review New Source Performance Standards under Clean Air Act Section 111(b)(1)(B).