EPA Cross-State Pollution Rule Tossed by Appeals Court
By Sara Forden and Tom Schoenberg – Aug 21, 2012 10:33 AM ET
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of interstate air pollution is unlawful and cannot be enforced, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled.
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.
Southern Co., EME Homer City Generation LP, a unit of Edison International, and Energy Future Holdings Corp. units in Texas are among the power companies challenging the rule. The state of Texas, the National Mining Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers joined in parallel cases, saying the rule puts an undue financial burden on power producers and threatens electricity reliability by forcing companies to shut some older plants.
The EPA rules, which apply to Texas and 26 eastern states, impose caps on sulfur dioxide, which can lead to acid rain and soot harmful to humans and ecosystems, and nitrogen oxide, a component of ground-level ozone and a main ingredient of smog.
The rules, issued in July and revised in October, apply to emissions that cross state lines.
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