Federal Court Strikes Down EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Published August 23, 2012

A federal court of appeals threw out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, saying EPA usurped too much authority from individual states and ordered states to make deeper emissions cuts than authorized under federal law. 

Under the Clean Air Act, the individual states retain authority to draft their own plans to meet federal clean air restrictions. EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, however, did not recognize this important right and sought to impose EPA-drafted plans on the states as a first resort rather than a last resort.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule also violates federal law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled, by ordering individual states to make deeper cuts than necessary to curtail emissions that might cause downwind states to violate federal clean air standards.

EPA will attempt to draft changes to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to bring it into compliance with federal law. The process will likely take more than a year.