Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oral Arguments On Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Apr 12: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is hearing oral arguments in lawsuits over U.S. EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule reduces the sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants across 28 eastern states. Supporters of the rule indicate that the pollution drifts across the borders of those states, contributing to dangerous -- and sometimes lethal -- levels of particulate and smog pollution in downwind states.

    EPA issued the rule under the "Good Neighbor" protections of the Clean Air Act, which ensure that the emissions from one state's power plants do not cause harmful pollution levels in neighboring states. On December 30, 2011, in one of the last official judicial environmental actions of 2011, the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling to stay U.S. EPA's controversial Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) finalized on July 6, 2011, and published in the Federal Register on August 8, 2011 [See WIMS 7/7/11]. According to the 2-page Court order issued on December 30, the CSAPR, which just became effective on October 7, 2011, is now on hold pending judicial review until at least April 2012 [See WIMS 1/3/12].

    According to EPA and supporters, CSAPR would reduce power plant sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent and oxides of nitrogen by 54 percent from 2005 levels. These emissions and the resulting particulate pollution and ozone (more commonly known as soot and smog) impair air quality and harm public health -- both near the plants and hundreds of miles downwind. They indicate that CSAPR would provide healthier air for 240 million Americans in downwind states. EPA estimates that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, when fully implemented, would: Save up to 34,000 lives; Prevent 15,000 heart attacks; Prevent 400,000 asthma attacks; and Provide $120 billion to $280 billion in health benefits for the nation each year.

    Nine states (CT, DE, IL, MA, MD, NY, NC, RI, VT), the District of Columbia, five major cities (Baltimore, Bridgeport, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the American Lung Association, the Clean Air Council, NRDC, Sierra Club, and several major power companies (Calpine, Exelon and Public Service Enterprise Group) have all intervened in support of the clean air protections. On the other side are: other power companies (AEP, Southern, GenOn, Luminant) and states including AL, FL, GA, IN, KS, LA, MI, MS, NE, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA, WI .

    Access a release from EDF (click here). Access the briefs for and against the rule posted on the EDF website and link to fact sheets and economic benefits by states (click here). Access EPA's CSAPR website for complete background and details (click here). [#Air, #CADC]

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