The Georgia Coalition for Sound Environmental Policy and the Georgia Industry Environmental Coalition are among the groups challenging a rule under the Clean Air Act which requires states to remove civil penalty shields from their pollution reduction plans. The penalty shields are known as affirmative defense provisions, and they apply in only in certain circumstances.
While EPA initially permitted states to have such provisions for purposes of Clean Air Act compliance, the agency was successful in passing a rule disallowing them back in May. The rule was issued after the EPA found that 36 states do not adequately address deficiencies in compliance with emissions requirements during periods where the plans were either beginning to be implemented, or are shut down or malfunctioning due to unavoidable equipment malfunctions. The rule specifically requires states to remove provisions that protect facilities from being hit with civil penalties for violations in such circumstances.