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EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Delayed in Court, RAC update

By Susan Paykin, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court issued an order to delay the implementation of the EPA’s finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  Originally slated to go into effect in 27 Eastern states on January 1, 2012, the rule would impose stricter standards for power plants producing pollution that crosses state lines.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is projected to prevent 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks, and 400,000 cases of asthma caused by toxic power plant emissions that travel across state lines. The new rule would limit sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from power plants in 27 states in the Eastern U.S., amounting to $280 billion per year in health benefits. Click on the map image above (courtesy of NPR) to see the state-by-state impact of this rule.

The power industry has challenged the rule in several states, saying that the implementation date is too soon and the added costs of installing new pollution technology standards would be too costly and force power outages. The court’s order came in response to a Texas case challenging the rule.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s order puts an indefinite stay on the cross-state rule, pending further court review. This delay is a step backwards in confronting health and environmental justice issues that plague communities across the country. We do not just share the water we drink and the air we breathe with our intrastate neighbors; we share our resources – and the pollution that contaminates them – with our fellow citizens in other states as well. In the next round of reviews, the court should order the implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

Voice your support for EPA clean air protections by urging your Senators to oppose the TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401), a House-passed bill that would prevent the implementation of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and similar regulations.  Because the TRAIN Act has already passed the House of Representatives, it is critical that Senators’ veto this bill when it comes up for vote in the Senate. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121, or you can send an email by clicking here.

Susan Paykin is a 2011-2012 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. 

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