EPA Abandons Rules That Would Have Meant More Power Plant Pollution

Statement by John Walke, Director of the Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2008) --  The Bush administration announced today it would abandon its highly controversial plan to adopt two Clean Air Act rules that would have allowed power plants and other industrial polluters to increase harmful smog and soot pollution. The first rule that EPA announced it would drop concerned the law’s new source review (NSR) program, and would have allowed coal-fired power plants to increase harmful smog and soot pollution without adopting pollution controls. The second abandoned rule would have weakened special air quality protections that Congress adopted for national parks and wilderness areas.
Both rules had faced fierce opposition from public health and environmental groups, state and local air quality regulators, and prominent members of Congress. NRDC first urged EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to abandon the harmful NSR rule in August, following a July court decision that overturned EPA’s Clean Air Interstate Rule, which EPA had relied upon as its primary justification for pursuing the weaker NSR rule. In today’s announcement, EPA pointed to the fate of its Clean Air Interstate Rule as the primary reason for dropping the NSR rule.
Following is a statement from John Walke:
“I am heartened that both of these destructive and unlawful air pollution rules will not be forced upon the American people. With the barbarians at the gate having pulled up their tents and headed for the hills, we can look forward as a civilized society to tackling the critical problems of global warming, smog and soot pollution that continues to damage our health, and toxic mercury that contaminates our waters. NRDC looks forward to working with the incoming administration to protect our air quality and the health of all Americans.”