Supreme Court Ruling Protects Millions from Air Pollution

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2014) -- The Supreme Court today upheld, by a 6-2 vote, the cross-state air pollution rule, one of the most significant health standards ever adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The following is a statement by John Walke, director of the Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is great news for millions of people who suffer from serious health problems caused by the soot and smog-causing pollution from power plants in other states. Implementation of these long overdue protections will prevent thousands of premature deaths and save tens of billions of dollars a year in health costs. The EPA safeguards follow the simple principle that giant utility companies shouldn't be allowed to dump their dirty emissions onto residents of downwind states. The Supreme Court wisely upheld this common-sense approach.”

EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in July 2011, requiring 28 states in the East, Midwest, and South to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that cross state lines and worsen air quality in downwind states. In August, 2012, a sharply divided U.S. Court of Appeals panel voted 2-1 to throw out the rule, but in a blistering 44-page dissent, Judge Judith Rogers said the two-judge majority ignored the law and court precedent and instead applied their “own notions of absurdity and logic that are unsupported by a factual record.” Today’s Supreme Court decision sides with Rogers' dissent and reinstates the health standards.


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