Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Climate
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court today revived a critical clean air standard that will protect the health of Americans across 28 Eastern states.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was designed to protect downwind states from the harmful air pollution that is emitted by distant power plants and then blows across state borders.

The law falls under the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, intended to ensure that emissions from one state’s power plants do not cause harmful pollution in neighboring states. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The High Court ruled six to two to reverse an adverse decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, says:

EPA’s cost-effective allocation of emission reductions among upwind States, we hold, is a permissible, workable, and equitable interpretation of the Good Neighbor Provision [of the Clean Air Act]. (page 32 of the decision)  

Justices Scalia and Thomas dissented; Justice Alito recused himself from the case.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision means that millions of Americans can breathe easier” said Fred Krupp, president for Environmental Defense Fund, which was a party to the case. “Power plant pollution creates serious health risks for millions of Americans, especially children and the elderly. The Supreme Court’s decision means that our nation can take the necessary steps to ensure healthier and longer lives for the 240 million Americans at risk from power plant smokestack pollution near and far.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule under the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, which is intended to ensure that the emissions from one state’s power plants do not cause harmful pollution levels in neighboring states.

The rule would reduce the sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants across 28 eastern states. Those emissions, and the resulting particulate pollution and ozone—more commonly known as soot and smog—drift across the borders of those states and contribute to dangerous, sometimes lethal, levels of pollution in downwind states.

Opponents challenged the rule in EME Homer City Generation v. EPA, and the D.C. Circuit Court overturned in Aug. 2012. Today, the Supreme Court overruled the D.C. Circuit Court and reinstated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The EPA can now put the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule into effect.

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How 11,000 Oil and Gas Wells Gave Utah Community More Ozone Pollution Than Los Angeles 

World Health Organization Reports Air Pollution Killed 7 Million People in 2012

Science on Trial: Big Oil Funds Attacks on EPA Air Pollution Standards

--------

A seagull flies in front of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Neil / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

A key part of the United States' clean energy transition has started to take shape, but you may need to squint to see it. About 2,000 wind turbines could be built far offshore, in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, in the next 10 years. And more are expected.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton

Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Kevin Maillefer / Unsplash

By Lynne Peeples

Editor's note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. Read the launch story, "Thirsting for Solutions," here.

In late September 2020, officials in Wrangell, Alaska, warned residents who were elderly, pregnant or had health problems to avoid drinking the city's tap water — unless they could filter it on their own.

Read More Show Less
Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less
New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less