Appeals Court denies EPA rule on “cross state” pollution

A U.S. Appeals Court has denied the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rehear a case on a pollution rule that was challenged by Attorney General Scott Pruitt and other attorneys general in a multi-state lawsuit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the request by the EPA, ruling the EPA had exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act in creation of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The court specifically ruled the EPA must allow states the opportunity to meet regulations as provided under federal law.

Oklahoma joined Nebraska, Florida, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia to file the lawsuit against the EPA in September after Oklahoma was required to follow a new federal plan to theoretically reduce pollution in another state.

“The EPA violated the law and went against decades of precedent in denying states like Oklahoma the right to create a state solution. The state air pollution rule would have required Oklahoma to spend millions of dollars to retrofit power plants to address theoretical compliance issues in one county in Michigan,” Pruitt said.

“This regulation is yet another example of the current EPA administration’s activist approach to environmental policy and burdensome overregulation that accomplishes nothing more than harming ratepayers and businesses for the sake of more rule making. Thankfully, common sense won out and the court agreed with our position.”

The court ruled the “EPA’s Transport Rule violates the statute” and “did not allow the States the initial opportunity to implement the required reductions with respect to sources within their borders.”

In doing so, the court wrote, “the EPA departed from its consistent prior approach” and “violated the (Clean Air) Act. For each of those two independent reasons, EPA’s Transport Rule violates federal law. Therefore, the Rule must be vacated.”

Oklahoma has a separate case that was stayed pending a decision in the overall CSAPR case.