EIP and Sierra Club Sue EPA for Failing to Properly Regulate Air Pollution from Nitric Acid Plants

by Jennifer Peterson
Feb 5, 2009

In a case that could prompt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit today against EPA for violating its duty to review and update its emission standards for nitric acid plants, which produce chemicals used in the fertilizer and explosives industries.

Nitric acid plants generate nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. EIP and Sierra Club hope the information developed during the review will persuade EPA to start regulating N2O emissions.  Nitric acid plants are, by far, the largest industrial source of N2O in the United States, with emissions that could be controlled easily.