Court Gives EPA Green Light on NOx Rule
The D.C. appellate court has issued a final ruling upholding the
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 1998 clean-air rule
requiring several states east of the Mississippi River to enforce
strict nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emission standards.
"This decision is a major environmental victory for everyone
living throughout the eastern United States," said EPA
Administrator Carol M. Brown. At the same time, it was a big loss
for coal-fired plants in the Midwest.
Although the clean-air rule leaves it strictly up to the states
to choose which sources to tightly regulate, the EPA has suggested
they zero in on vintage coal-fired generation plants. The agency
contends these facilities have been the biggest emitters of NOx
emissions, causing pollution problems in East Coast and Northeast
In late June, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit denied a petition by a host of electric utilities
and Southeastern and Midwestern states to review a March decision
by a three-judge panel of the appellate court upholding the EPA NOx
rule. The parties initiated their challenge to the EPA rule in May
The court decision gives the agency the go-ahead to move forward
with enforcement of its 1998 NOx-reduction rule in 19 of the 22
states that are believed to be significant contributors of NOx
emissions. It calls for each of the 19 states and the District of
Columbia to submit NOx-reduction plans to EPA by the end of
October, said EPA spokesman David Ryan.
Excluded from the appeals court decision were Georgia, Missouri
and Wisconsin. The agency is planning to issue a new rulemaking for
Georgia and Missouri, but Wisconsin is "out completely," Ryan
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