Federal court strikes down EPA overreach on air pollution rules

The Environmental Protection Agency suffered a major defeat in federal court on Tuesday, as its Cross State Air Pollution Rule was struck down.  This little bundle of regulatory joy was going to cost the American energy industry (the stuff that works, not the ???green energy??? junk) a cool $2.7 billion to deliver.

The appellate court minced no words in its ruling, as quoted by the Washington Examiner: ???EPA seems reluctant to acknowledge any textual limits on its authority under the good neighbor provision. At oral argument, EPA suggested that ???reasonableness??? is the only limit on its authority to use cost-effectiveness to force down States??? emissions. EPA would not rule out the possibility that under the good neighbor provision, it could require a State to reduce more than the State???s total emissions that go out of State. But such a claim of authority does not square with the statutory text ??? ???amounts??? of pollution obviously cannot ???contribute??? to a downwind State???s pollution problem if they don???t even reach the downwind State.???

(Emphasis mine.)  In other words, the EPA twisted the clear meaning of the statute to overstep its authority, only to receive a stinging rebuke from the U.S. Court of Appeals.  The court also cited the EPA for failing to allow state governments ???the initial opportunity o implement the required reductions with respect to sources within their borders.???

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) issued a statement applauding today???s court ruling: ???I am pleased to see that the court has confirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded their statutory authority in issuing the Cross-State Air Pollution rule.  I offered a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval against this rule last year to protect the rights of states against this attempt by the EPA to raise energy costs and cut jobs at power plants.  I will continue to use the resources at my disposal to fight against an out-of-control EPA overreach into the rights of states and the lives of citizens.???

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) was also pleased: ???Today???s decision striking down EPA???s costly and unworkable Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is welcome news. This is a win for American families who, because of this rule, faced the threat of higher power bills, less reliable electricity, and job losses.  CSAPR is just one of several new EPA rules targeting America???s power sector that together will cost our economy tens of billions of dollars and put thousands of jobs at risk. The court ruled today that EPA???s transport rule ???exceeds the agency???s statutory authority,??? offering another reminder to the American people that President Obama???s EPA is an agency run out of control.???

Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) viewed the CSAPR as an attempt to ???override states??? rights,??? and accused the EPA of ???acting without authority and without consideration of the cumulative costs of its various rules that impact the power sector.???  Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX) said the EPA rulings would have hit certain states, notably his home state of Texas, with ???a disproportionate share of the country???s emissions reductions, threatening thousands of jobs and electric reliability across the state.???

Update: Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), who was especially critical of the unreasonably short time frames for compliance in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, released a statement praising today’s court decision: “By striking down CSAPR, today???s ruling will provide homes and businesses with continued affordable, reliable energy.  The court???s decision is in line with what we???ve been saying from the start: Under CSAPR, states like Kansas were given inadequate time to comply with the new emissions standards.  Rather than a compliance schedule of 5 years, like other states, they were only given a few months. Kansas utilities are making great progress toward improved air quality and reducing their emissions voluntarily, and they have agreed to reduce them further, but CSAPR ignored the utilities??? good faith efforts without giving sufficient time to comply.  I am pleased that the court has recognized that states need more time to make the appropriate changes.”