EPA interstate air polution ruling struck down
August 21, 2012 ·
A federal appeals court overturned a federal rule that laid out how much air pollution states would have to clean up to avoid violations in downwind states.
A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out the Environmental Protection Agency’s the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule rule in a 2-1 ruling. The panel said the EPA had exceeded its authority in the way it dispensed the cleanup work among 28 upwind states.
The E.P.A. rule was an effort to deal with states whose own air was clean enough, but were hosts to power plants, refineries, and other industrial plants that emitted pollutants that prevented neighboring states from attaining the level of cleanliness required under federal law.
The court said that the EPA had improperly required states “to reduce their emissions by more than their own significant contribution to a downwind state’s nonattainment,” according to the opinion, written by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and joined by Judge Thomas B. Griffith.
The court also said The E.P.A.’s rule violated the Clean Air Act because it failed to let the states submit their own plans to comply and imposed a federal plan instead. The statute leaves it to the states to decide how they will meet federal standards.