Environmental Litigation: Impact of Deadline Suits on EPA’s Rulemaking Is Limited

US Government Accountability Office

[What GAO Found] The effect of settlements in deadline suits on EPA’s rulemaking priorities is limited. According to EPA officials, settlements in deadline suits primarily affect a single office within EPA—the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) — because most deadline suits are based on provisions of the Clean Air Act for which that office is responsible. These provisions have recurring deadlines requiring EPA to set standards and to periodically review — and revise as necessary — OAQPS sets these standards through the rulemaking process. OAQPS officials said that deadline suits affect the timing and order in which rules are issued but not which rules are issued.


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