The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued proposed rules that would permit coal-fired power plants to increase emissions, which contradict not only the Clean Air Act but also the recent United States Supreme Court opinion we wrote about in May. The proposed rules would exempt coal-fired power plants from the Clean Air Act’s key provisions requiring modern pollution controls for plants upgrading their facilities, thereby increasing pollution. This proposal is substantially the same as the industry’s position that was rejected by the Supreme Court in the Duke Energy case. The Clean Air Act provision at risk specifically requires older plants undergoing major changes to also limit their emissions to current standards. Large soot and smog producing companies that have been searching for a way around this provision may use the new rules, if adopted, to avoid meeting emissions standards. John Walke, the clean air program director for the National Resources Defense Council, made this observation:
This move by EPA represents defiance of the Supreme Court decision and a rush to reward coal-fired power plant lawbreakers. It’s breathtaking, as a matter of logic and public safety, that the Bush administration would adopt the dirtier, losing position of polluting lawbreakers that EPA is prosecuting, and make lawbreakers’ demands the law of the land.
The EPA should be taken to task by Congress for its defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it seems very clear that the real culprit may well be the Bush White House.
Source: National Resource Defense Council
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