Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461, 26 (2004)

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486

ALASKA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION v. EPA

Opinion of the Court

and 167 to empower the federal Agency to check a state agency's unreasonably lax BACT designation. See Brief for Respondents 27.

EPA stresses Congress' reason for enacting the PSD program—to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in clean-air areas within a State and in neighboring States. 7470(3), (4); see id., at 33. That aim, EPA urges, is unlikely to be realized absent an EPA surveillance role that extends to BACT determinations. The Agency notes in this regard a House Report observation:

"Without national guidelines for the prevention of significant deterioration a State deciding to protect its clean air resources will face a double threat. The prospect is very real that such a State would lose existing industrial plants to more permissive States. But additionally the State will likely become the target of 'economic-environmental blackmail' from new industrial plants that will play one State off against another with threats to locate in whichever State adopts the most permissive pollution controls." H. R. Rep. No. 95-294, p. 134 (1977).

The House Report further observed that "a community that sets and enforces strict standards may still find its air polluted from sources in another community or another State." Id., at 135 (quoting 116 Cong. Rec. 32909 (1970)). Federal Agency surveillance of a State's BACT designation is needed, EPA asserts, to restrain the interjurisdictional pressures to which Congress was alert. See Brief for Respondents 33-34, 43; Brief for Vermont et al. as Amici Curiae 12 ("If EPA has authority to ensure a reasonable level of consistency among BACT determinations nationwide, then every State can feel more confident about maintaining stringent standards without fear of losing its current industry or alienating prospective industry.").

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