Description: Action to compel EPA to implement and enforce emission guidelines for existing municipal solid waste landfills.
California v. EPA
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/06/2019 Order Download Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment granted in part and defendants' motion for summary judgment denied. Federal Court Ordered EPA to Implement Landfill Emission Guidelines. The federal district court for the Northern District of California set a schedule for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take mandatory steps to implement emission guidelines for existing municipal solid waste landfills. Although EPA did not dispute that it had failed to perform nondiscretionary obligations with respect to the guidelines, which were finalized in August 2016, EPA argued that the states that brought this lawsuit lacked standing. The court rejected this argument, finding that the state plaintiffs had standing to challenge EPA’s failure to perform nondiscretionary duties based on the “special solicitude” afforded to them under Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007). The court also set stricter deadlines than what EPA proposed for approval or disapproval of the existing state plans submitted by states in EPA Region 9 (California and Arizona), finding that EPA had not met its burden of showing that the timeframe EPA proposed for plans outside Region 9 was infeasible for the Region 9 plans. The court also rejected EPA’s timetable for promulgation of a federal plan. 01/23/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenor. Summary Judgment Motion Filed in Lawsuit Challenging EPA’s Failure to Implement Landfill Emission Guidelines. A month after the federal district court for the Northern District of California denied EPA’s motion to dismiss, eight states and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) filed a motion for summary judgment seeking an order compelling EPA to implement its emission guidelines for existing municipal solid waste landfills. The states and EDF said EPA had already stipulated that it had not reviewed and responded to the compliance plans submitted by some states, and that it had not promulgated a federal plan for states that did not submit approvable plans. The states and EDF contended that these actions were nondiscretionary duties and that they were therefore entitled to summary judgment since there were no disputed issues of fact. They urged the court to set the following deadlines because “time is of the essence in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change”: (1) review of existing state plans within 30 days; (2) promulgation of a federal plan within five months; and (3) response to any future state plans within 60 days of submission. 12/21/2018 Order Download Defendants' motion to dismiss and motion to stay case denied. California Federal Court Allowed States to Proceed with Lawsuit to Compel Enforcement of Emission Guidelines for Existing Landfills. The federal district court for the Northern District of California denied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by eight states to compel EPA to implement and enforce emission guidelines for existing landfills. The guidelines were promulgated in August 2016 and took effect on October 29, 2016; pursuant to EPA regulations, states were required to submit implementation plans by May 30, 2017, and EPA was to approve or disapprove submitted plans by September 30, 2017, and to promulgate federal plans by November 30, 2017 for states that did not submit implementation plans or whose plans were disapproved. The court rejected EPA’s contention that the court lacked jurisdiction because EPA’s sovereign immunity had not been waived for duties imposed by regulations. The court also rejected EPA’s argument that the plaintiffs failed to identify states that should have submitted implementation plans, triggering EPA’s duty to act. In addition, the district court denied EPA’s motion to stay the case until EPA concludes a rulemaking in which it has proposed to extend the deadline for states to submit implementation plans until August 29, 2019. 11/20/2018 Order Download Environmental Defense Fund's motion to intervene granted. 11/16/2018 Reply Download Reply filed in support of EPA's motion to stay case pending conclusion of rulemaking. 11/14/2018 Motion Download Motion filed by state plaintiffs to shorten time for the court to hear defendant EPA's motion to stay. On November 14, the states asked the court to hold a hearing on the stay motion as soon as possible, arguing that significant prejudice and harm would result and that EPA’s relief would be effectively granted if the hearing were held on February 14, 2019, as currently scheduled. 11/09/2018 Opposition Download Opposition filed by state plaintiffs to EPA's motion to stay case. The states opposed EPA's stay request, as did Environmental Defense Fund, which the court granted permission to intervene in support of the plaintiffs. 11/09/2018 Response Download Response filed by proposed intervenor Environmental Defense Fund joining plaintiffs' opposition to EPA's motion to stay case. 11/05/2018 Motion Download Motion to stay case pending conclusion of rulemaking filed by EPA. After Proposing Delay of Compliance Requirements for Landfill Emission Guidelines, EPA Asked Federal Court to Stay States’ Lawsuit. On November 5, 2018, EPA moved to stay a lawsuit brought by states in the federal district court for the Northern District of California to compel EPA to promulgate federal implementation plans for Obama-era emission guidelines for existing municipal solid waste landfills. EPA told the court that the deadlines upon which the states’ claims were based were the subject of proposed rulemakings to amend the deadlines. First, in August 2018, EPA proposed in its “Affordable Clean Energy” replacement for the Clean Power Plan to amend timing requirements for all “ongoing” emission guidelines to allow more time for submission of state plans as well as for EPA review of such plans and EPA promulgation of federal plans. Second, in October 2018, EPA proposed to extend the deadline for submitting state plans for the landfill emission guidelines to August 19, 2019 (from May 30, 2017), and to provide additional time after that date for EPA review and, if necessary, EPA promulgation of federal plans. 10/23/2018 Notice Download Notice of proposed rule filed by EPA. 09/27/2018 Opposition Download Opposition filed by EPA to motion to intervene. 09/18/2018 Opposition Download States filed opposition to EPA's motion to dismiss. 09/13/2018 Motion to Intervene Download Motion to intervene filed by Environmental Defense Fund. 08/07/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by EPA. 05/31/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. States Challenged EPA’s Failure to Implement Emission Guidelines for Existing Landfills. Eight states, led by California, filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of California asserting that EPA had failed to fulfill its statutory duty to implement and enforce emission guidelines for municipal solid waste landfills that would have controlled emissions of volatile, organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, carbon dioxide, and methane. The states alleged that EPA had worked to undermine the emission guidelines by communicating that it does not intend to implement them and that EPA had violated statutory mandates to approve or disapprove state implementation plans and to impose federal plans on noncomplying states.