A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked the EPA's disapproval of the way the state of Arkansas planned to implement the Clean Air Act's standards for ozone emissions in what Attorney General Tim Griffin called a win over regulatory overreach.
The two-sentence order by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes after Arkansas sued the EPA on Feb. 16 over the agency's Feb. 13 decision to reject the state's plan to comply with federal emissions rules meant to assure that power plants and industrial sites don't pollute other states.
The court's order on Thursday granted Arkansas' request for a stay of the EPA's decision pending a resolution of the lawsuit.
Griffin considered the EPA's rejection of Arkansas' plan unlawful, he said in a Thursday news release, and said the court's action would prevent President Joe Biden's administration from imposing "a one-size-fits-all federal implementation plan that would kill Arkansas jobs and threaten our power grid."
The EPA tasked states with devising proposals to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides that form ozone. Arkansas was one of 19 states that had their implementation plan rejected by the federal agency.
The Arkansas' plan, submitted in October 2019, did not sufficiently evaluate "additional emissions control opportunities," federal officials said. Arkansas officials did not get a chance to revise their proposal and instead had to adopt the federally devised plan.
Officials in Texas and Utah also filed petitions after the decision from the EPA.
Arkansas U.S. Sen. John Boozman, a Republican, spoke out against the rejection in late March, saying he was concerned the federal plan would negatively impact businesses in the state that produce emissions.
"The EPA is great until you disagree with them," Boozman said then. "They talk about federal cooperation and all of this stuff, but again, once you disagree, it tends to be their way."
Arkansas' other U.S. senator, Tom Cotton, also a Republican, also voiced his disapproval of the EPA's decision when the state filed its lawsuit, saying that the federal agency acted in bad faith.