A federal appeals court March 4 dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club de Puerto Rico and other public health groups, which had challenged a 1980 regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency on the applicability of the new source review permitting program in nonattainment areas (Sierra Club de Puerto Rico v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 14-1138, 3/4/16).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a unanimous March 4 opinion authored by Judge Robert Wilkins, ruled the public health petitioners had not brought a timely challenge under the Clean Air Act against the regulation.

The petitioners alleged there was an illegal exemption from the nonattainment new source review program in the EPA regulation. The public health groups sought court review of the rule after the EPA in July 2014 decided to grant Energy Answers Arecibo LLC a less-stringent permit for construction of an incinerator in a lead nonattainment area in Puerto Rico.

Brendan Collins, a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, argued on behalf of Energy Answers Arecibo.