Washington, 21 August (Argus) — Congressional supporters of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule urged the Obama administration to appeal a court ruling today that overturned the regulation.
The regulation's backers, mostly Democrats, said the court ruling would lead to air quality problems for states downwind from coal-fired power plants.
“I urge the Obama administration to appeal this misguided decision by the courts so that Massachusetts and other states impacted by harmful emissions from old, polluting coal plants can clean up their air,” said US representative Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The rule, combined with other Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions, was designed to reduce power plant emissions of SO2 by 73pc and NOX by 54pc from 2005 levels by 2014. It was supposed to replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which the DC Circuit Court of Appeals said today will remain in effect until EPA comes up with an acceptable replacement.
The court said EPA overstepped its authority with the cross-state rule by requiring some states to reduce emissions by more than their contribution to downwind states emissions levels, and by implementing a federal implementation plan for the states covered by the rule before allowing the states to craft their own plans.
Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware), who previously tried to pass legislative fixes for CAIR, also called for EPA to appeal the ruling and suggested he may try again to get Congress to act. Carper chairs the Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee.
“I will be working with this administration, the impacted states and my colleagues to ensure we find a swift solution to ensure all states do their fair share to clean up our air if that appeal is not successful,” he said.
But many Republicans said the ruling was a much needed check on an “out of control” EPA.
“This is a win for American families who, because of this rule, faced the threat of higher power bills, less reliable electricity and job losses,” House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan).
Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), a vocal critic of the agency, said he looked forward to the DC Circuit next striking down EPA's air toxics and mercury rule, which calls for a 90pc reduction in mercury emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
“It will not be surprising if the courts also rein in EPA's utility
rule, which suffers from similar flawed data assumptions and unrealistic time frames,” Inhofe said.
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