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EPA Ordered to Rewrite Downwind Pollution Rules for 13 States

smokestacksThe US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ordered the EPA to rewrite rules for smokestack emissions that drift across state lines, reports US News & World Report.

The ruling follows an April 2014 Supreme Court decision that upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which blocks states from adding to air pollution in other states.

The Supreme Court said that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA can implement federal plans in states that do not adequately control downwind pollution. But the court also ruled that the EPA can consider the cost of pollution controls and does not have to require states to reduce pollution by the precise amount they send to downwind states.

The DC Circuit’s ruling orders the agency to rewrite the regulations for sulfur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide for 13 states. Texas and South Carolina would see limits for sulfur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide adjusted, while new limits for either sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides would be set in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

The court said in its ruling that the EPA’s standards for sulfur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide for 13 states are overly strict and that the limits would result in downwind states “overachieving” air quality standards for harmful pollutants.

At the same time, the court upheld the EPA’s right to impose the clean-air standards, rejecting an argument by states and industry groups that the rule was overly burdensome.

Photo: smokestacks via Shutterstock. 

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