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US Supreme Court Upholds EPA’s Cross-State Pollution Rule; Eventually should lead to more controls on Texas coal plants

In the ongoing tussle between states like Texas that have taken an-anti EPA position, and the Obama Administration and the EPA, the EPA won the latest round, as the US Supreme Court reversed the US Court of Appeals and found that EPA was within its rights to issue a Cross-State Air Polllution Rule (CSPAR) that required “upwind” states to control soot and ozone-forming pollutants that impacted down-wind states. Under the EPA’s rule promulgated in 2012, Texas’s largest and dirtiest coal plants would have been forced to make major reduction in their pollutants which impact nearby states like Arkansas and Oklahoma. Several states, including Texas’s Governor Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbot, immediately intervened and won a victory at the US Court of Appeals. With this week’s ruling, that victory was short-lived.

While it is unlikely that the EPA rule under dispute will be adopted in exactly its current form, expect to see a new EPA proposed rule with a slightly different timeline sooner rather than later. That rule is likely to give states some flexibility but it will require deeper cuts in pollution from Texas’s oldest fossil fuel plants. Likely impacted will be the big coal plants owned by Luminant for example. That’s good news for Texans living near the plant or in nearby cities that suffer the pollution, and also for our neighbors in Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Afterall, it’s called the Good Neighbor Provisions for a reason!

If you want to read Sierra Club’s official position on this amazing legal victory — afterall we were one of many groups that filed a brief in support of the EPA — see this press release from national Sierra Club.