Tuesday, December 10, 2013

US supreme court to rule on EPA's powers to enforce air pollution limits

Suzanne Goldenberg in the Guardian (UK): Barack Obama's authority to compel power plants in the US midwest to reduce the smog and soot that blow across to north-eastern states will be put to the test on Tuesday in the first of three major challenges to environmental regulations.

The supreme court will hear arguments about whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can set limits on air pollution that, while originating in one state, directly affect the air quality in other states.

It is the first of two cases this session that will help define the limits of the EPA's authority to deal with air pollution and climate change. Early next year, the court will hear a challenge to the EPA's plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the federal appeals court will hear a case seeking to overturn EPA limits on mercury and other emissions from coal-fired power plants. The case was brought by the coal company, Peabody Energy Corp, the United Mineworkers of America, Texas and other states.

In Tuesday's supreme court proceedings, judges will review whether the EPA had the authority to allocate responsibility for air pollution to the different states. The DC circuit court struck down the regulation in August 2012, following a challenge filed by 15 states....

James Earle Fraser's statue The Authority of Law, which sits on the west side of the United States Supreme Court building, on the south side of the main entrance stairs. Shot by Matt H. Wade, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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