Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SCOTUS Reviewing Cross State Air Pollution Rule

U.S. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is reviewing a lower court decision that nullified Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at cutting soot- and smog-forming power plant emissions that cross state lines.

The EPA, when finalizing the rule in the summer of 2011, said substantially cutting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions would bring public health benefits that far outstrip the projected costs. The agency estimated that the rule, when phased in, would prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths; 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis annually. The rules would force emissions cuts in more than two dozen states in the eastern half of the country.

In a 2-1 August 2012 decision,  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, ruling that the regulation exceeded the EPA’s powers under the Clean Air Act to force pollution cuts in upwind states.

The appellate decision was a victory for industry groups, some states and GOP lawmakers, who alleged the rule would create economic burdens and force the closure of substantial numbers of coal-fired power plants.

Specifically, the appellate judges said the rule allows the EPA to “impose massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind states without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text.”

The Supreme Court’s agreement to examine the rule, depending on the outcome, could breathe new life into the regulation. (The Hill, 6/24/2013)

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