Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461, 25 (2004)

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

Opinion of the Court

[PSD] permit contain a BACT limitation." Brief for Petitioner 34; see id., at 22, 25 (same). See also Brief for Respondents 23. It is therefore undisputed that the Agency may issue an order to stop a facility's construction if a PSD permit contains no BACT designation.

EPA reads the Act's definition of BACT, together with CAA's explicit listing of BACT as a "[p]reconstruction requiremen[t]," to mandate not simply a BACT designation, but a determination of BACT faithful to the statute's definition. In keeping with the broad oversight role 113(a)(5) and 167 vest in EPA, the Agency maintains, it may review permits to ensure that a State's BACT determination is reasonably moored to the Act's provisions. See id., at 24. We hold, as elaborated below, that the Agency has rationally construed the Act's text and that EPA's construction warrants our respect and approbation.

BACT's statutory definition requires selection of an emission control technology that results in the "maximum" reduction of a pollutant "achievable for [a] facility" in view of "energy, environmental, and economic impacts and other costs." 42 U. S. C. 7479(3). This instruction, EPA submits, cabins state permitting authorities' discretion by granting only "authority to make reasonable BACT determinations," Brief for Respondents 27 (emphasis in original), i. e., decisions made with fidelity to the Act's purpose "to insure that economic growth will occur in a manner consistent with the preservation of existing clean air resources," 42 U. S. C. 7470(3). Noting that state permitting authorities' statutory discretion is constrained by CAA's strong, normative terms "maximum" and "achievable," 7479(3),12 EPA reads 113(a)(5)

12 Formulations similar to the BACT definition's "maximum degree of [pollutant] reduction . . . achievable" appear in the Act's standards for new sources in nonattainment areas, 42 U. S. C. 7501(3) and 7503(a)(2) ("lowest achievable emission rate" (internal quotation marks omitted)), and its technology-based standard for hazardous emissions, 7412(d)(2) ("maximum degree of reduction . . . achievable").


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