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Crisis averted, for now

June 6, 2012
Morning Journal News

What ought to worry Ohioans most about a court ruling that prevented a financial catastrophe for tens of thousands of small businesses is that it did not involve the merits of the case but, instead, a technicality.

In 2010 a federal court ruled in favor of the Sierra Club in a lawsuit against the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The organization's contention was that the OEPA was wrong to exempt about 66,000 small businesses from air pollution limits under the federal Clean Air Act.

Had the ruling not been appealed, the OEPA would have been forced to require small businesses such as dry cleaners and auto body shops to install expensive pollution control equipment. No doubt that would have driven many out of business.

Last week the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the lower court. It ordered the Sierra Club's lawsuit be dismissed - but only because the type of suit filed is not permitted under federal law.

In other words, a technicality rescued many "mom 'n pop" businesses in the Buckeye State.

Rest assured the Sierra Club and/or organizations like it will try again. The only way to block them is for Congress to amend the Clean Air Act - an action that is needed for many reasons.



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