Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461, 4 (2004)

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464

ALASKA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION v. EPA

Syllabus

nation. In support of this reading, EPA notes that Congress intended the PSD program to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in clean-air areas. Without a federal Agency surveillance role that extends to BACT determinations, EPA maintains, this goal is unlikely to be realized. The Act's legislative history suggests that, absent national guidelines, a State deciding to set and enforce strict clean-air standards may lose existing industrial plants to more permissive States. The legislative history further suggests that without a federal check, new plants will play one State off against another with threats to locate in whichever State adopts the most permissive pollution controls. The Court agrees with EPA's reading of the statutory provisions. EPA's CAA construction is reflected in interpretive guides EPA has several times published. Although an interpretation presented in internal guidance memoranda does not qualify for dispositive force under Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837, 865-866, a cogent administrative interpretation nevertheless warrants respect, Washington State Dept. of Social and Health Servs. v. Guardianship Estate of Keffeler, 537 U. S. 371, 385. Pp. 484-488. (2) ADEC's several arguments do not persuade the Court to reject as impermissible EPA's longstanding, consistently maintained interpretation. ADEC argues that CAA's BACT definition, 7479(3), unambiguously assigns to "the permitting authority" alone the decision of the control technology qualifying as "best available." In ADEC's view, EPA's enforcement role is restricted to assuring that the permit contain a BACT limitation. CAA entrusts state authorities with initial responsibility to make BACT determinations because they are best positioned to adjust for local circumstances that might make a technology "unavailable" in a particular area. According state authorities initial responsibility, however, does not signify that there can be no unreasonable state agency BACT determinations. Congress vested EPA with explicit and sweeping authority to enforce CAA "requirements" relating to the construction and modification of sources under the PSD program, including BACT. Having expressly endorsed an expansive surveillance role for EPA in two independent CAA provisions, Congress would not have implicitly precluded EPA from verifying a state authority's substantive compliance with the BACT requirement. Nor would Congress have limited EPA to determining whether the state permitting authority had uttered the key words "BACT." The fact that 7475(a)(8) expressly requires EPA approval of a State's BACT determination in a limited category of cases does not mean EPA lacks supervisory authority in all other cases. Sections 113(a)(5) and 167 sensibly do not require EPA approval of all state BACT determinations. Those provisions simply authorize EPA to act in the unusual case in which a state permit-

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