Supreme Court Hears Shadow Docket Challenges to EPA’s Life-Saving Good Neighbor Rule

Statement of EDF General Counsel Vickie Patton

February 21, 2024
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718,

“EPA’s Good Neighbor Rule protects the health of people in downwind states from dangerous air pollution that blows across state lines from coal-fired power plants and other large industrial sources in upwind states. It is already in effect in eleven upwind states, safeguarding tens of millions of people from serious heart and lung diseases linked to smog. When fully implemented, the Good Neighbor Rule is expected to save a thousand lives and prevent a million asthma attacks every year.

“The Good Neighbor Rule is grounded in the Clean Air Act’s Good Neighbor provision and firmly based in long-standing legal precedent. More than a century ago Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes recognized that downwind states had a legal right not to suffer pollution from their upwind neighbors, and the Supreme Court affirmed EPA’s authority to protect downwind states as recently as 2014 in the EME Homer City Generation case. Now this Supreme Court is hearing challenges to the Good Neighbor Rule on its shadow docket – without full briefing and before the D.C. Circuit has considered any of the litigation on its merits.

“Upwind polluters have rudimentary and commonsense options to comply with the law. Modern pollution controls are readily available and have already been widely deployed. A decision by the Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay of the Good Neighbor Rule’s life-saving protections would be extraordinary, premature, and harmful.”

            - Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Defense Fund is a party in the case and is serving as counsel of record for environmental groups.

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