Federal Court Decision in Clean Air Act Citizen Suit Case

On February 25, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued a decision in the case of Nucor Steel-Ark. v. Big River Steel, in which the plaintiff steel company attempted to utilize the citizen suit provision of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) to stop a competitor from constructing a $1.3 billion steel mill. In the case, the plaintiff steel company alleged that the defendant competitor violated the CAA because the defendant had received a state-issued air quality permit for a new steel mill to be constructed, but had failed to conduct certain air quality modeling and analyses. The district court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit because (1) the defendant’s steel mill was not yet constructed and not operational and thus the defendant could not be in violation of an emission standard or limitation, and (2) the plaintiff had previously made the same allegations in an administrative challenge to the defendant’s permit and thus the court concluded the plaintiff’s lawsuit was an improper, collateral attack on the state-issued permit.

For more information about the decision or about citizen suits under the Clean Air Act or other federal environmental statutes, please contact Andy Thompson. For a copy of the decision, click here.

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