WASHINGTON (CN) – The D.C. Circuit rejected the Bush administration’s plan to reduce industrial air pollution in a rare case where environmentalists’ interests were aligned with the president’s.
A three-judge panel said the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority to create the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which included a cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from power plants in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
The agency predicted that the clean air rules, imposed mainly on upwind states, would reduce pollution by about 65 percent by 2015, saving up to $100 billion in health benefits and preventing about 17,000 deaths a year.
North Carolina and several electric power producers challenged the rule, objecting to the trading program and the agency’s authority to base emission caps on the number of coal-, oil- and gas-fired plants a state has compared to other states.
The appellate court cited “more than several fatal flaws” of the administration’s proposed plan, including its failure to calculate individual state contributions to downwind pollution.
The court said the plan was beyond salvageable. “No amount of tinkering with the rule or revising of the explanations will transform CAIR, as written, into an acceptable rule.”