Groups ask U.S. SC to review D.C. Circuit's decision over EPA's air pollution rule

Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 8, 2013, 5:00pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- A coalition of health and environmental organizations have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to reconsider a federal appeals court ruling in a lawsuit over the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

The American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and the Clean Air Council filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the court March 29.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was created by the EPA under the so-called "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, which is intended to ensure that the emissions from one state's power plants do not cause harmful pollution levels in neighboring states.

The rule, the groups contend, would protect air quality for 240 million Americans across the Eastern United States and save up to 34,000 lives each year.

"The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is vital for the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of Americans," EDF counsel Sean H. Donahue said in a statement.

"We have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lower court's decision given the profound public interest in ensuring healthier, longer lives for the 240 million Americans afflicted by power plant pollution and given the appeals court's sharp deviation from settled legal principles."

In August, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated and remanded the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to the EPA.

In January, the full court declined to reconsider the ruling.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would reduce the sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants across 28 eastern states.

The rule also would reduce power plant sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent and oxides of nitrogen by 54 percent from 2005 levels.

Industry officials, and some state attorneys general, have opposed the rule. They argue it would create economic burdens and force some coal-fired power plants to shut down.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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