July 22, 2013
The United States Supreme Court will review a lower court decision that nullified Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules aimed at cutting soot and smog forming power plant emissions that cross state lines, according to a 24 June 2013 report from The Hill’s Energy and Environmental Blog, E2.
The announcement provides new hope for the EPA and environmental groups that suffered a defeat in 2012 when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that forces cuts from plants in 28 states in the eastern half of the country, finding that it exceeds 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. But the Supreme Court’s agreement to examine the rule, depending on the outcome, could breathe new life into the regulation.
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 would prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths; 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis annually. The rule would force emissions cuts in more than two dozen states in the eastern half of the country.
What this means to you
Stationary engine operators in these areas could be affected if the court re-instates CSAPR.