Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cross-State Air Pollution Case

June 24, 2013


Vickie Patton, 720-837-6239,
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Washington, D.C. – June 24, 2013) The Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it would review the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision involving EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. 

The D.C. Circuit overturned the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule last August in EME Homer City Generation v. EPA.“This is welcome news for the millions of Americans afflicted by harmful air pollution from power plants,” said EDF general counsel Vickie Patton.

“The Cross State Rule is firmly anchored in science and law, and will ensure healthier and longer lives for 240 million Americans. We look forward to presenting this compelling case for clean air to the high court.”   

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule under the “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, which is intended to ensure that the emissions from one state’s power plants do not cause harmful pollution levels in neighboring states.

The rule would reduce the sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants across 28 eastern states. Those emissions, and the resulting particulate pollution and ozone — more commonly known as soot and smog — drift across the borders of those states and contribute to dangerous, sometimes lethal, levels of pollution in downwind states.

The federal government asked the Supreme Court to review the EME Homer City decision, as did Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the American Lung Association, the Clean Air Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. Other parties filed briefs in support of EPA’s request, including numerous states and cities that are adversely affected by interstate pollution, and two major power companies.

Today the Supreme Court granted the request to review the lower court’s decision on the merits. That means the Court will hear an appeal of the lower court’s decision during its next term, which begins in the fall.


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