Issue Date: January 9, 2012
Court Delays EPA’s Air Pollution Rule
A federal appeals court has ordered EPA to delay implementing new regulations designed to curtail power plant air pollution that drifts across state lines. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit granted a request by utilities and other challengers to delay the deadline for plants in 27 states to begin reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides while the court weighs the rule’s legality. “Petitioners have satisfied the standards required for a stay pending court review,” the panel said in the Dec. 30, 2011, ruling. More than three dozen lawsuits seek to derail EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, which was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. Critics argue the rule would threaten the stability of the U.S. power grid, cut jobs, and damage the economy. The rule imposes caps on sulfur dioxide, which can lead to acid rain and soot, and nitrogen dioxide, a component of smog. EPA claims that the emissions reductions will prevent tens of thousands of illnesses per year.
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