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State Agency Authority to Adopt More Stringent Environmental Standards

State Agency Authority to Adopt More Stringent Environmental Standards

6/3/2014

A number of states have enacted laws that limit state agency authority to adopt environmental rules and regulations more stringent than federal law requires. The chart below contains a citation and summary for state laws that apply broadly to environmental agencies, as well as those that apply specifically to state regulations adopted under the federal Clean Air Act. At least 19 states have one or more laws limiting state agency authority to adopt environmental standards. Statutes generally fall into one of two categories: (1) statutes imposing an unconditional restriction on state agency authority; and (2) statutes imposing a conditional restriction on state agency authority. Legislation is currently pending in North Carolina.

Please type in a state in the box below to be taken directly to the state's legislative information.

STATE

STATUTE

SUMMARY

Alaska

Alaska Stat. §46.14.010

Allows the state environment agency to adopt ambient air quality or emission standards under the clean air act that are more stringent than federal requirements, so long as the agency makes a written finding that certain conditions are significantly different in the state or in an area of the state from those upon which the corresponding federal regulation is based.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §49-408

Requires that any revision to the state implementation plan be no more stringent than required under federal regulations.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. §25-7-114.2

State regulations governing indirect air pollution sources may not be more stringent than those required for compliance with federal law

Florida

Fla. Stat. §403.804

Requires that the state department of environmental protection study the economic and environmental impact of any proposed standard that would be more stringent than federal law.

Idaho

Idaho Code §39-118B

Specifies that the state cannot implement more stringent standards, emission limitations, or control technology requirements under the Clean Air Act unless approved by statute.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. §13A.120

Specifies that an administrative body may adopt administrative regulations to implement a statute only when the legislature authorizes the adoption of such regulations or when regulations are required by federal law, in which case such regulations may be no more stringent than federal law or regulations.

 

Ky. Rev. Stat. §224.10-100

Requires the energy and environment cabinet to preserve existing clean air resources while ensuring economic growth by issuing regulations which are no more stringent than federal requirements.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. §49-17-34

All rules, regulations and standards relating to air quality, water quality or air emissions or water discharge standards must be consistent with and may not exceed the requirements of federal statutes, regulations, standards, criteria and guidance.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. §643.055

Rules and regulations promulgated by the state air conservation commission may not be more stringent than those required under the federal clean air act.

 

Mo. Rev. Stat. §640.033

Prohibits the state department of natural resources from adopting any rules concerning emissions from coal-fired power plants which are more stringent than federal law.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. §74-2-5

Regulations adopted by the environmental improvement board pursuant to the clean air act may be no more stringent than federal regulations.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code §23-01-04.1

The state department of health may only adopt rules more stringent than federal regulations if, after a public hearing, a written finding is made that federal regulations are not adequate to protect public health and the environment of the state. This law applies to rules adopted pursuant to a number of federal laws, including the clean water act, clean air act, safe drinking water act, resource conservation and recovery act, etc.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §121.39

Prior to adopting any rule relating to environmental protection, state agencies must do take a number of steps involving analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposed rule, technological feasibility, etc. The agency must submit this information to the joint committee on agency rule review.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 27A, §1-1-206

Requires each state environmental agency, prior adopting rules that are more stringent than corresponding federal requirements, to prepare a statement outlining the economic impact and environmental benefit of such rules. The statement must be submitted to the governor and legislature.  

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Executive Order 1996-1 (Gov. Ridge)

State agencies may not exceed federal standards unless justified by a “compelling and articulable” interest or required by state law.

Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35, §4006.6

The Environmental Quality Board may only establish certain more stringent air quality standards when needed to protect public health, welfare and the environment.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws, §23-23-5

State regulations relating to fuels used by stationary and mobile sources of air contaminants may not be more stringent than federal law or regulations, unless it can be shown that the regulations are needed for the attainment or maintenance of air quality standards.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §1-40-4.1

No rule that has been promulgated on subjects related to environmental protection, mining, water rights and water management may be more stringent than corresponding federal laws, rules or regulations governing an essentially similar subject or issue.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §19-2-106

The state air quality board may only adopt rules that are more stringent than federal regulations governing the clean air act if, after a public hearing, a written finding is made that federal regulations are not adequate to protect public health and the environment of the state.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §22-1-3a

With certain exceptions, rules promulgated by the state department of environment protection may include provisions which are more stringent than federal rules, provided the agency supplies information that demonstrates that such provisions are “reasonably necessary” to protect, preserve or enhance the quality of the environment, human health, or safety.

 

W. Va. Code §22-5-4

Specifies that no legislative rule or program of the state department of environmental protection may be more stringent than any federal rule or program except to the limited extent that the agency first makes a written finding that there exists scientifically supportable evidence for such rule or program reflecting factors unique to the state or some area thereof.

Wisconsin

Natural Resources Board Policy 1.52(3)

In situations where the department of natural resources seeks to adopt an environmental quality standard more restrictive than a standard provided under corresponding federal law or regulations, the department must advise the board why the more restrictive standard is needed to protect public health, safety or the environment.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat §35-11-213

Specifies that no greenhouse gas emission regulations, new source performance standards, or potential to emit thresholds be more stringent than those imposed or required by federal law.

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