Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461, 9 (2004)

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Cite as: 540 U. S. 461 (2004)

Opinion of the Court

junctive relief, as necessary to prevent the construction" of a major pollutant emitting facility that does not conform to the PSD requirements of the Act. 42 U. S. C. 7477.

In the case before us, "the permitting authority" under 7479(3) is the State of Alaska, acting through Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). The question presented is what role EPA has with respect to ADEC's BACT determinations. Specifically, may EPA act to block construction of a new major pollutant emitting facility permitted by ADEC when EPA finds ADEC's BACT determination unreasonable in light of the guides 7479(3) prescribes? We hold that the Act confers that checking authority on EPA.



Congress enacted the Clean Air Amendments of 1970, 84 Stat. 1676, 42 U. S. C. 7401 et seq., in response to "dissatisfaction with the progress of existing air pollution programs." Union Elec. Co. v. EPA, 427 U. S. 246, 249 (1976). The amendments aimed "to guarantee the prompt attainment and maintenance of specified air quality standards." Ibid.; D. Currie, Air Pollution 1.13, p. 1-16 (1981) (summary of 1970 amendments). Added by the 1970 amendments, 108(a) and 109(a) of the Act require EPA to publish lists of emissions that "cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare," and to promulgate primary and secondary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for such pollutants. 42 U. S. C. 7408(a) and 7409(a); Whitman v. American Trucking Assns., Inc., 531 U. S. 457, 462-463 (2001). NAAQS "define [the] levels of air quality that must be achieved to protect public health and welfare." R. Belden, Clean Air Act 6 (2001). The Agency published initial NAAQS in 1971, Union Elec., 427 U. S., at 251 (citing 40


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