Issue Date: May 7, 2007
Supreme Court Leaves EPA Rule Overturned
The Supreme Court last week refused to hear the Bush Administration's defense of an EPA regulation easing emissions control requirements for chemical companies, refineries, and power plants. A federal appeals court overturned that rule in 2006, saying it violated the Clean Air Act (C&EN, March 27, 2006, page 8). The Supreme Court's action means the appeals court decision is final. The 2003 rule would have allowed companies to upgrade older plants—and increase emissions—without installing modern pollution controls if the cost of the changes did not exceed 20% of the replacement value of the facility. The rule is one of the biggest changes the Administration has attempted to make to federal air pollution policy. It never took effect, however, because of legal challenges. Environmental activists and 14 states fought the rule in court, saying it would allow companies to rebuild aging facilities and increase emissions without government review.
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