Life-Saving Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in Jeopardy Following Court Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–August 21, 2012.  Today, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution protection, which sought to protect Americans from dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power plants. Sierra Club joined the lawsuit, along with the Environmental Defense Fund, Clear Air Task Force, American Lung Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others, as well as over a dozen US states and cities, in an effort to defend the life-saving protection against big polluters.

The protection would have reduced life-threatening soot and smog pollution from power plants in 28 states and helped curb poor air quality days and respiratory illnesses that affect millions of Americans.

 In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement: 

”The Sierra Club is disappointed with the court’s decision today. Americans have been waiting for the clean air they deserve for decades and the court’s ruling today further delays the Clean Air Act’s promise of safe, breathable air for our children.

“The EPA’s long overdue and much-needed rule would have helped communities clean up their air and save lives by curbing millions of tons of air pollution that travel downwind and across state lines each year. Once implemented, the rule would have prevented as many as 34,000 premature deaths annually, avoided 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and improved the lives of millions.

“We urge the Environmental Protection Agency to petition for rehearing and strive to preserve the public health benefits that the rule promises.  As Judge Rogers of the DC Circuit has explained, by ruling against EPA, ‘the court disregards limits Congress placed on [the DC Circuit’s] jurisdiction, the plain text of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), and this court’s settled precedent interpreting the same statutory provisions at issue today.’  EPA can and must seek a rehearing of this critical life saving rule.