Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Federal appeals court strikes down EPA's cross-state air pollution rule

A federal appeals court has struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's air pollution rule for emissions that cross state lines, ruling that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority with the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, aimed at 28 Eastern states. More than a dozen states and several power companies challenged the rule last year, claiming it put undue burdens on them to implement.

"To put it colloquially, the good-neighbor provision requires upwind states to bear responsibility for their fair share of the mess in downwind states," the opinion of the three-judge panel says, but goez too far "by requiring steep pollution cuts from states beyond what they actually contribute to other states' air quality problems," Politico's Erica Martinson reports. The ruling also says the agency should not have set "implementation plans" for states telling them how and where to make pollution cuts to meet air emission limits.

Judge Judith Rogers disagreed with the majority, saying in her dissent that the ruling will result in "a redesign of Congress's vision of cooperative federalism between the states and the federal government in implementing the Clean Air Act based on the court's own notions of absurdity and logic that are unsupported by a factual record." The Natural Resources Defense Council's Clean Air Program senior attorney and Director John Walke said the majority "got the precedent badly wrong," and that the NRDC will urge the Obama administration to appeal the court's ruling. (Read more)

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