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Appeals Court Clarifies Definition Of "Adjacent" Under The Federal Clean Air Act

In Summit Petroleum Corp. v. US EPA, 690 F.3d 733 (6th Cir. 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned the US EPA’s finding that a natural gas sweetening plant and approximately 100 gas wells scattered across a 43-square-mile area in Michigan should be treated as a single source for purposes of Title V of the Federal Clean Air Act.  The case turned on whether the plant, wells, flares and pipelines were located on “adjacent properties” for purposes of the Title V permitting program, which requires the aggregation of individual sources in making major source determinations if certain requirements are met.  In a split decision, the Sixth Circuit applied the plain meaning of the term “adjacent” and rejected the US EPA’s longstanding reliance on functional relatedness in conducting an adjacency analysis.

Read about this development and more in the Babst Calland Report.  Access the Report’s executive summary here.  Request a copy here.