Defending the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

EDF and many other groups ask Supreme Court to review case

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will save lives.

By tightening the limits on certain types of soot- and smog-forming smokestack pollution in "upwind" states, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would provide healthier and longer lives for the millions of Americans that live in the communities surrounding these large power plants and in "downwind" states.

Many Eastern states have longed been forced to breathe in dirty air from neighboring states, contributing to early deaths and lung diseases like asthma.

Yet, these clean air safeguards, adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011, have been under attack ever since, mainly from the coal and oil power plants that release the harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollutants that lead to soot and smog.

In 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the rule. But hope is not lost: Its fate now rests with the Supreme Court, which granted a request for further judicial review from the Environmental Protection Agency and many other concerned parties, including the American Lung Association and EDF.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case in December 2013. We are now waiting to hear the Justices' ruling.

A lifesaving rule

The rule would deliver extensive health protections enabling millions of Americans in Eastern states to live healthier, longer lives. Starting in 2014, each year the rule will:

  • Save up to 34,000 lives
  • Prevent 400,000 asthma attacks
  • Avoid 1.8 million sick days
  • Provide benefits of $120-$280 billion

Clean air should be the standard, not the exception.