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Delaware Acts to Protect Citizens From Out-of-State Air Pollution

Date Posted: Friday, October 5th, 2012
Categories:  Department of Justice

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Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden and Governor Jack Markell announced today that Delaware, 8 other states, and several major cities have challenged a federal appeals court decision striking down federal rules that would have significantly reduced air pollution in the First State.

“The quality of the air Delawareans breathe should not depend on whether other states will do what it takes to substantially reduce air pollution,” Attorney General Biden said. “The EPA’s rule will ensure that tons of pollutants are eliminated every year and kept out of Delaware’s air.”

“The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule could reduce emissions from power plants in upwind states that contribute more than 90 percent of the air pollution that Delawareans breathe,” said Governor Jack Markell.  “We are grateful to Administrator Jackson for her efforts to use the Clean Air Act to reduce the thousands of tons of air pollution coming into our state. The State of Delaware stands together with the EPA and several other eastern states in asking the entire D.C. Circuit Court to consider this important decision that affects the air millions of Americans breathe every day.”

On August 21, 2012, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that required significant reductions in airborne pollutants emitted by 27 states.  The EPA had determined that air pollution from these states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, contribute significantly to downwind states’ inability to comply with federal air quality standards.  The CSAPR, promulgated in 2011, required those states to undertake significant efforts to reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, precursor pollutants of ozone and other fine particulates beginning January 1, 2012.   Last year Kansas challenged the Rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Delaware intervened with other states in support of the air pollution standards.

Today EPA filed an appeal of the August 12 decision and Delaware’s subsequent petition supports that appeal, seeking a re-hearing of the case before the entire US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.

“Delaware is a national leader is reducing air pollution.  We have already cleaned up all of our local power plants and industrial facilities, yet uncontrolled pollution from upwind states continue to impact the health of all Delawareans,” DNREC Secretary Collin P. O’Mara said.  “While the earlier Circuit Court’s decision if upheld would delay progress, the en banc petitions of EPA and Delaware present hope that all Delawareans will be able to breathe easier. We thank Administrator Jackson, Governor Markell, and Attorney General Biden for their strong support of clean air.”

State Petition for Re-Hearing

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