A federal appeals court has put the kibosh on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest regulatory scheme to curb soot- and smog-forming air pollution. The rule, which was shot down Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was set to impose a greater regulatory burden on coal-fired power plants while potentially boosting electric rates for consumers.
In a 2-1 decision, the court said the EPA had superseded its mandate, which placed a cap on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal plants in 28 states, including Texas and other mostly Eastern states. The rule was estimated to cover about 1,000 power plants, and to comply, companies operating older plants would have to slow production, shut their plants down, or buy credits to offset their emissions.
Two of the three judges charged the EPA with exceeding its “jurisdictional limits” in portraying the Clean Air Act while inflicting “massive emission reduction requirements” on upwind states. “By doing so, EPA departed from its consistent prior approach to implementing the good neighbor provision and violated the [Clean Air Act],” Judge Brett Kavanaugh attested in the court’s opinion.
In a major setback for the agency, the court returned the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule for revision, charging the EPA to temporarily enact its existing Clean Air Interstate Rule, a less stringent Bush-era rule that the agency was initially revising. Fox News explains:
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