Supreme Court sides with environmental groups in key cross-state air pollution ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion on April 29 in a case considering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution rule, which will protect Americans from dangerous cross-state air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The court gave a complete and resounding victory to EPA, putting back in place a protection that will reduce soot and smog pollution from power plants in 28 states, improve air quality, and reduce life-threatening respiratory illnesses that affect millions of Americans.
In a 6-2 decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court determined that the EPA acted within its authority given by Congress under the Clean Air Act to reduce dangerous interstate pollution.
Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, Clear Air Task Force, American Lung Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others, along with more than a dozen U.S. states and cities, joined suit to defend the Cross-State Air Pollution protection.
In response to the ruling, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:
“Today’s ruling is a resounding victory for public health, especially for people living downwind from coal-fired power plants in other states. For too long, these communities have shouldered an unfair burden on their health and wellbeing without the ability to protect themselves and their families from dangerous pollution.
“The Court’s ruling today affirms the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the Clean Air Act, to issue standards to protect public health from life-threatening air pollution that travels across state boundaries.
“The Sierra Club looks forward to working with EPA and our coalition partners to get this life-saving safeguard in place to protect American communities as quickly as possible.
“Once implemented, the Cross-State Air Pollution rule will improve the lives of millions of Americans, and many of these improvements will be felt almost immediately. Protecting the public from cross-state air pollution will prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths annually, help American families avoid 19,000 emergency room visits, and prevent 1.8 million missed work and school days each year. The rule would also save Americans up to $280 billion in annual health and environmental costs.”