Court strikes down EPA pollution rule

Aug 22, 2012 By Neela Banerjee

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down a key Obama administration air pollution rule meant to protect residents of some states from polluters in neighboring states, saying that the Environmental Protection Agency must grant states more time to implement protections.

The ruling by two George W. Bush appointees covers the "good neighbor rule" issued by the EPA in mid-2011 to regulate emissions of pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, the main ingredients in soot and smog.

The rule is one of several federal efforts to arbitrate a long-standing regional dispute between coal-powered, lightly regulated mainly in the South and Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic and New England states where the toxic emissions wind up on account of prevailing winds.

Even cities in the Midwest and the South are affected by their neighbors' pollution, including Chicago, Knoxville, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C., said Vickie Patton, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, which had intervened in the case on behalf of the EPA.

In a 2-1 decision, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA had overstepped its authority by issuing federal pollution standards before states had a chance to develop their own and by calling for emissions reductions greater than the court's majority considered necessary. Led by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the court vacated the rule and ordered the EPA to develop a new one, leaving in its place a Bush-era regulation.

The EPA estimates that the now-vacated rule could have prevented more than 30,000 and hundreds of thousands of illnesses annually. There are 28 states that are home to the biggest , and on the East Coast there are about 240 million people downwind from their emissions.

The challenge against the good neighbor rule was brought by the attorneys general from states including Texas, Mississippi, Florida and Kansas. Coal-burning utilities like AEP and the Southern Co., the main emitters of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, intervened on behalf of the plaintiff states. Together, they welcomed the decision as a much-needed limit on what they consider overreaching federal authority.

"The importance of the ruling cannot be overstated," said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group. "EPA has not showed sufficient respect or deference to state programs. Today's decision is a stern warning against EPA's recent views."

Other panels of judges on the D.C. Circuit Court have recently handed the EPA key victories against efforts by industry and the same attorneys general to dismantle or delay other beefed-up rules.

Tuesday's decision was accompanied by a scathing dissent from Judge Judith Rogers, who wrote that the majority's conclusions "are unsupported by a factual record, and a trampling on this court's precedent."

In 2005, the Bush administration EPA developed a rule to curtail interstate air pollution that was challenged by industry as too stringent and by the state of North Carolina as too lenient. In 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the Obama administration regulation was too strict and that the Bush-era provision was too weak and ordered the EPA to develop a new good neighbor rule swiftly.

The EPA reacted by issuing standards on a state-by-state basis to reduce emissions, though it gave polluter states a timetable from 2012 to 2015 to submit their own plans to cut pollution. On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the states needed more time to devise their plans first before EPA issued its standards.

Environmentalists contend that the polluter states have delayed such rules for more than 20 years and that the 2008 Circuit Court decision compelled the current EPA to step in. "The EPA is whipsawed between these two decisions in 2008 and now," said John Walke, director of the Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And it's the public that suffers because will it take five or six years before the court would see a regulation they would all agree to."

The EPA, which is reviewing the court's action, could abide by the decision and develop a new rule. Its congressional, state and environmental allies are urging it to appeal the ruling, either to the full D.C. Circuit Court or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Quondam
3.8 / 5 (10) Aug 22, 2012
I know, it amazes how the safety of it's citizens is secondary to lobby groups.
"The EPA estimates that the now-vacated rule could have prevented more than 30,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses annually"
That might cost money, lets not.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 22, 2012
These two filthy Conservative Judges are now complicit in the murder of 30,000 Americans per year.

To be a Conservative, is to be a traitor.

Howhot
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2012
It's interesting to see the outsiders perspective on this. I've always thought a polluter was a polluter and should be held responsible for the health of the population that it's releases effects. Be it fines, fees or regulatory burden, a corporation or business should have the burden of cleaning up the mess it makes.

In fact, I see it as enshrined in the constitution, under the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which applies to the individual, not the corporation. But that is up to a constitutional lawyer to argue.

defactoseven
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2012
America [cough]


Voleure, my apologies for hitting the 1 star, mistake, fluke. I agree with your sentiment.

Go ahead and hit my one star... I deserve it.

As for the US courts, what the hell do they think they are doing? It seems that to be a judge these days is to be a traitor. One plan is too weak, one too strict, so just do NOTHING! But I guess that's the idea. Do nothing means money over humanity.
Voleure
5 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
That's ok defacto, they pulled my post which I thought was a succinct reflection of the heart of this article.
Opinion varies it seems!

Air quality is something that nearly everyone outside of polluters can get behind. What this article shows is how pervasively the political interference by court appointments and pressure from lobbyists has damaged the fabric of our system that is supposed to protect you and I.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
Too bad the 'liberals' don't want to pursue a solution which does not involve more govt power.
If the US recognized common law property rights, lawsuits by those downwind of the pollution would have solved the problem without an EPA.
With an EPA, politicians and bureaucrats and 'progressives' create opportunities to be bribed and acquire power instead of solving the problem.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
"Even when a government gave an industry preferential water rights, the common law would not allow the preference to expand to include a right to pollute, as a turn-of-the-century case makes clear. The Idaho constitution stated that mining operations "shall have preference over those using the same [water] for manufacturing or agricultural purposes."(9) A farmer downstream from a mining operation sued for damage to his farm caused by acids dumped in the Coeur d'Alene River, which was used by the farm. The federal appeals court held that even if the mining operation was in "the ordinary and usual mode of mining" and even if it had a constitutional preference for access to water, it had no "right to dump injurious and deleterious materials into a stream."(10) The court noted that, with the exception of one case from Pennsylvania, this view represents "an unbroken line of decisions in the United States and England."(11)"
http://www.perc.o...e653.php
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2012
If the US recognized common law property rights,


Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...those are above 'property law' (and also do not mention property in any way)

Too bad the 'liberals' don't want to pursue a solution which does not involve more govt power.

Like? Asking nicely that they'd get their butts in gear and get some environmental regulation going on the state level didn't seem to work.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
"Locke established that private property is absolutely essential for liberty: "every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his." He continues: "The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.""
http://www.thefre...roperty/
get some environmental regulation going

See, 'liberals' can only see a centrally planned, top down solution which transfers power to the state, not the individuals.
Under a common law approach, one individual could sue the polluter for violating his property and receive compensation, and so could anyone else. This would be a very simple law, one cannot violate the property rights of another.
The govt way protects the violators with regulations and lawyers.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
What 'pursuit of happiness' meant in the Declaration of Independence"

'The Virginia Declaration of Rights 1776

That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
http://www.let.ru...1776.php
"Property also referred to ownership of one's self, which included A RIGHT TO PERSONAL WELL BEING. Jefferson, however, substituted the phrase, "pursuit of happiness," which Locke and others had used to describe FREEDOM OF OPPORTUNITY "
http://answers.ya...8AAxCLPq
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
Why 'positive' law is favored by the socialists:

"But when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed - then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own initiatives. When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, to plan ahead; the law does all this for them. Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property."
Bastiat, The Law.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2012
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Maybe this should read....'pursuit of homosexuality'?
'Gay' used to mean 'happy', but not anymore.
Words have meaning and the meaning must be determined by the context at the time it was written.
NotParker
1 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2012

"The EPA estimates that the now-vacated rule could have prevented more than 30,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses annually"


If the EPA is correct (which I doubt), the switch from coal to shale gas should save millions of lives, yet environmentalists still lie about shale gas and work hard to prevent its use.

Greenies want you to die.
Howhot
not rated yet Aug 28, 2012
R2 says:
With an EPA, politicians and bureaucrats and 'progressives' create opportunities to be bribed and acquire power instead of solving the problem.
That is about the lamest thing I've heard. I mean really R2, why don't you include "Conservatives" in the bunch of your power mad, crooks and nuts. To be honest, you sentence would make more sense if you substitute 'Conservatives' for 'Progressives' so that your quote reads;

With a republican EPA, politicians and bureaucrats and 'Conservatives' create opportunities to be bribed and acquire power instead of solving the problem.


Yeah, that is actually more to the truth.
Howhot
not rated yet Aug 28, 2012
NP says:

If the EPA is correct (which I doubt), the switch from coal to shale gas should save millions of lives, yet environmentalists still lie about shale gas and work hard to prevent its use.


The EPA bases their rules and regulations on what benefits it provides Man-kind in the long term, unlike your short sited simpleton view of energy production. So anyway you say;
Greenies want you to die.


You must oppose green, so the complimentary color of green is purple. So by logic, all "purplies want to live.". Obviously a ridiculous position to take, so go screw yourself.

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