Protect the Adirondacks cheers a 6-2 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that upholds the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate air pollution between states. The Supreme Court decision enables to the EPA to reinstate the “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,” which requires 28 states to reduce emissions that hurt air quality in states located downwind.
Many of these states are upwind of New York and the Adirondack Park and have long been the source of acid rain and other air pollution.
The “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule” could force pollution control improvements to as many as 1,000 power plants east of the Mississippi River.
The EPA struggled to carry out a directive under the federal Clean Air Act, under the Clinton and Obama administrations, to protect downwind states from pollution generated in other states, mostly from coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s rules from 2011 were challenged by a coalition of upwind states and industry, which won lawsuits in lower courts.
Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagan, Roberts and Kennedy. Justices Scalia and Thomas dissented and Alito recused himself.
In a statement, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called the ruling “a resounding victory for public health and a key component” of the agency’s effort to “make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe.” She said the court’s decision underscored the importance of basing clean air rules “on strong legal foundations and sound science,” declaring it a big win and “a proud day for the agency.”
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