Federal Court Throws Out EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

  • Susan Phillips

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. threw out new rules aimed at reducing smog and acid rain. The Cross-State Air Pollution rule created new limits on nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, and applied to pollution that crossed state lines. The rules would force aging coal-fired plants to either install new scrubbers or shut down. A significant number of these plants are also converting to natural gas.
The Lehigh Valley’s Portland Generating Station, operated by GenOn, has long been a source of smog for New Jersey. The company announced it would close the plant by 2015, due to the cost of complying with the new rules.
BusinessWeek has more on today’s ruling.

“A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today sided with more than three dozen challengers to the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which imposes caps on emissions for 27 states. The rule was put on hold by the court while it considered the legality of the regulation.
The court ordered the agency to enforce a 2005 rule known as the Clear Air Interstate Rule, until a viable replacement to the cross-state pollution rule is made.”

The 27 states include those that contribute a significant amount of air pollution to neighboring states. The court’s decision questions the EPA’s authority in enacting the provision, also known as the “Transport Rule.”

“Here, EPA’s Transport Rule exceeds the agency’s statutory authority in two independent respects. First, the statutory text grants EPA authority to require upwind States to reduce only their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment. But under the Transport Rule, upwind States may be required to reduce emissions by more than their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment.

To read the ruling, click here.

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