Justices to Weigh In on Interstate Air Pollution

     (CN) – Federal rules aimed at reducing air pollution across state lines are at the heart of a pair of consolidated cases taken up Monday by the Supreme Court.
     The high court said it will hear two related cases involving the Environmental Protection Agency’s implementation of the so-called “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, which requires certain upwind states to reduce their pollution of downwind neighbors.
     The EPA and the American Lung Association appealed a D.C. Circuit ruling rejecting the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the EPA’s method of implementing the good-neighbor provision.
     That rule limits emissions from 28 upwind states’ coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, among other sources, and targets the pollutants sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
     The D.C. Circuit said the rule “imposed massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind states without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text.”
     The high court granted certiorari in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation and American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation, but limited review to the questions presented in the former.
     Those questions are:
     “1. Whether the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to consider the challenges on which it granted relief.
     “2. Whether states are excused from adopting [state implementation plans] prohibiting emissions that ‘contribute significantly’ to air pollution problems in other states until after the EPA has adopted a rule quantifying each state’s interstate pollution obligations.
     3. Whether the EPA permissibly interpreted the statutory term ‘contribute significantly’ so as to define each upwind state’s ‘significant’ interstate air pollution contributions in light of the cost-effective emission reductions it can make to improve air quality in polluted downwind areas, or whether the Act instead unambiguously requires the EPA to consider only each upwind state’s physically proportionate responsibility for each downwind air quality problem.”

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