Blockbuster Clean Air Cases Can Protect Americans’ Health, Save Tens of Thousands of Lives

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2013) – Oral arguments will be heard in two crucial cases today when the U.S. Supreme Court considers a federal rule to limit power plant sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions that blow across state lines, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court addresses another rule to curb their unhealthy mercury and toxic air pollution.

John Walke, Clean Air Director, Natural Resources Defense Council, issued this statement:

“These two sets of health standards are historic opportunities to reduce dangerous smog, soot, mercury and toxic air pollution from dirty power plants, and upholding these standards will prevent up to 45,000 premature deaths and more than a half million asthma attacks every year. With these two blockbuster court arguments, December 10th marks one of the biggest days for clean air in the history of American courts. The courts should side with Americans’ health and against polluter attacks.”

What’s at stake for the law:  The Supreme Court will consider whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can protect Americans against air pollution that crosses state borders by requiring Midwestern states to cut the smog and soot that blows downwind from their power plants into Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The D.C. Circuit case weighs the legality of an EPA rule limiting mercury, arsenic and other toxic substances released by power plants.