Supreme Court restores federal regulation of interstate air pollution

Date Posted: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Categories:  Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

Wilmington – Today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Environmental Protection Agency regulation aimed at reducing power plant emissions of dangerous air pollution that cross state lines and harm the health of residents in “downwind” states.
“The health of all Delawareans is threatened by harmful pollution produced in other states and carried here by wind currents,” Attorney General Beau Biden said.  “The EPA acted responsibly in 2011 to reduce those emissions and I applaud the nation’s highest court for ruling today that the agency acted within its authority to do so.”
In 2011, the EPA determined that air pollution from more than two dozen primarily East Coast states contribute significantly to downwind states’ inability to comply with federal air quality standards.  As a result, it promulgated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which required significant reductions in airborne pollutants emitted by those states, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, precursor pollutants of ozone and other fine particulates.
In August, 2012, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the CSAPR.  In October of that year, the EPA filed an appeal of the August, 2012 decision, seeking a re-hearing of the case before the entire panel in the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.  Delaware, 8 other states, and several major cities intervened in support of the EPA.  Read the October, 2012 release announcing Delaware’s action.  After the EPA’s request for rehearing was denied, the EPA took its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which held oral arguments late last year.
Today’s Supreme Court opinion is attached.
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