North Country News
12:30 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Adirondack Groups Praise U.S. High Court Review of EPA Rule Challenge

Credit National Parks Service

The U.S. Supreme Court will review an appeals court ruling that overturned the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Two Adirondack environmental groups say the move is crucial for the long-term health of the region’s ecosystem.



In August 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in a 2-1 decision. The lower court determined that the EPA had exceeded its authority by imposing "massive emissions reduction requirements" on power plants in upwind states. The Obama Administration appealed, and on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Adirondack environmental groups had lobbied for implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and are pleased the high court will review the lower court ruling. Adirondack Council Spokesman John Sheehan says the council had called for an appeal of the lower court decision.

Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil Woodworth explains that the rule was needed to close a loophole in the Clean Air Act.

Woodworth says that if the high court upholds the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and it is implemented, deep cuts will be required in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions.

And Neil Woodworth adds that while the region’s ecosystem has been recovering from acid rain, it is still struggling as such deposition continues.

The Adirondack Council’s Sheehan continues that the added cuts through the new rule are needed, not just for the ecology of the Adirondacks.

The Supreme Court will assess the court of appeals’ jurisdiction in the matter, the state’s roles in prohibiting emissions and interstate pollution obligations, and whether the EPA properly determined the significance of upwind emission contributions to each state.

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