Defending the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

EDF goes to the Supreme Court – which upholds the life-saving clean air measure

On April 29, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

For EDF and other groups, it was the end of a long legal battle to defend the critical clean air safeguards, which were adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011, to protect “downwind” states from the harmful air pollution that is emitted by distant power plants and then blows across state borders.

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

Clean air should be the standard, not the exception.

What happens next

  • In July 2015, The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected legal claims by Texas and other states to vacate the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, as well as rejecting several other fundamental legal claims. The court did grant claims challenging particular emissions budgets – while leaving the rule’s life-saving pollution reductions in full effect. 
  • EPA finalized an important update to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in September 2016. These common sense next steps will help states achieve the 2008 health-based smog standard. EPA held a public comment period and a hearing before finalizing the update. You can read the comments EDF submitted here.
  • Opponents sued to stop the update. EDF defended it in court. In September 2019 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the updated and strengthened Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.