Sierra Club without power

News February 02, 2001
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The U

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with the four Missouri chapters of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) that the San Francisco-based Sierra Club cannot sue in federal court to sever all federal funding for highway construction in the state of Missouri. The court also ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must determine the status of St. Louis' ozone attainment by March 12.


The decision made clear that the Clean Air Act limits relief the court may grant in citizen suits. The court cites a lack of authority to reach substantive conclusions and decide whether or not an area has failed to meet a national air quality standard.


In November 1998, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit claiming that then-EPA Administrator Carol Browner did not have the authority to allow Missouri to go forward with significant road projects since they felt St. Louis was not in attainment with the ozone standard.


"The most damaging sanction requested by the Sierra Club was the attempt to deny the entire state of Missouri highway funding, not just the St. Louis area targeted by the lawsuit," said AGC Executive Vice President and CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. "The lawsuit would have required offsets from industrial development, limiting the ability of companies to grow in the St. Louis area and statewide."


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