Court Lifts Stay on Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Life-Saving Health Protections Can Now Be Put Into Effect

October 23, 2014
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today lifted a stay on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, allowing the measure’s life-saving health protections to be put into effect.

“Today’s court decision is great news for public health,” said Vickie Patton, General Counsel for Environmental Defense Fund, which was a party to the case. “Dangerous air pollution puts millions of Americans at risk for asthma attacks and other serious lung diseases. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will allow us to reduce that pollution, and protect our families and communities.”

Today’s court decision to lift the stay follows a Supreme Court decision in April that upheld the rule.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was designed to protect downwind states from the harmful air pollution that is emitted by distant power plants and then blows across state borders. The rule will safeguard the health of 240 million Americans across 28 Eastern states who are in danger from power plant smokestack pollution.

The D.C. Circuit Court issued a stay of the rule and then overturned the rule in EME Homer City Generation v. EPA, but the Supreme Court overruled the D.C. Circuit Court’s invalidation and sent the case back to the D.C. Circuit to consider any remaining issues.

While the D.C. Circuit was considering those remaining issues, EPA asked the court to lift the stay, and to implement the first phase of the rule in 2015 and the second, final phase in 2017.

Health and environmental advocates, including EDF, also asked the D.C. Circuit to lift the stay.

Today the court lifted the stay, clearing the way for implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and its life saving protections for human health.  

You can read all the legal briefs in the case and read more about the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on EDF’s website.

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