Win: EPA Cross-State Emissions Rule Stayed by Court!


Click here for the Court order. Below is the Bloomberg report.

Click for the why the rule is based on junk science.


EPA Cross-State Emissions Rule Delayed by Court in Victory for Producers

By Tom Schoenberg – Dec 30, 2011 5:34 PM ET

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must delay implementing rules on interstate air pollution on Jan. 1, a federal court ruled, siding with electric power producers seeking to defeat the new regulations.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Appeals Court in Washington today granted a request by electric power producers and other challengers to delay the deadline for plants in 27 states to begin reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide while the court considers the rule’s legality.

“Petitioners have satisfied the standards required for a stay pending court review,” Judges Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Griffith and Janice Rogers Brown said in the brief ruling.

More than three dozen lawsuits in the Washington court seek to derail the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was issued in July and revised in October. The court hasn’t scheduled a date for argument, though today’s order suggested the judges would hear the case by April.

Parallel Cases

Southern Co., EME Homer City Generation LP, a unit of Edison International (EIX), and Energy Future Holdings Corp (TXU). units in Texas are among the power companies challenging the rule. The state of Texas (STOTX1), the National Mining Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers joined in parallel cases, saying the rule puts an undue financial burden on power producers and threatens electricity reliability by forcing companies to shut some older plants.

Enesta Jones, an EPA spokeswoman, declined to immediately comment on today’s ruling.

The EPA rules, which apply to Texas and 26 eastern states, impose caps on sulfur dioxide, which can lead to acid rain and soot harmful to humans and ecosystems, and nitrogen oxide, a component of ground-level ozone and a main ingredient of smog. The rule applies to emissions that cross state lines.

Power companies, state officials and lawmakers said the EPA provided too little time to comply, and argued in court that the October revisions should invalidate the entire rule.
Luminant Generation Co., an Energy Future Holdings Corp. unit, claims the measure will cost it $1.5 billion through 2020 and force it to eliminate at least 500 jobs.

‘Irreparable Harm’

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling because it recognizes the irreparable harm that would have resulted from the short six-month timeline for compliance outlined in the original rule,” David Campbell, Luminant’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Scott Segal, a lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani LLC in Washington, representing operators of coal-fired plants such as Southern Co. (SO), said postponement of regulations are allowed when there is “a strong chance of success” the challenge will succeed and when the parties can be injured without such relief.

“Stays are hard to come by in the world of Clean Air Act litigation, which makes the stay of the cross-state rule all the more significant,” Segal said in an e-mail.

The power companies’ effort is opposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, power companies such as Chicago-based Exelon Corp. (EXC) and states such as New York and Illinois.

“Today’s judicial decision temporarily halts implementation of life-saving clean air protections for 240 million Americans pending full review of the facts and the law,” Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, said in an e-mailed statement. “Several years ago, this same court similarly halted EPA’s first interstate air pollution protection program and then affirmed EPA’s action after a complete review of the facts and law.”

More Coal

Coal accounts for 98 percent of sulfur dioxide and 92 percent of nitrogen oxides released into the air by power plants, according to the EPA. Texas consumes more electricity and uses more coal than any other state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The case is EME Homer City Generation LP v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11-1302, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

19 thoughts on “Win: EPA Cross-State Emissions Rule Stayed by Court!”

  1. They are protected by freedom of speech. You would spend a lot of money and get nowhere. It is very difficult to sue a newspaper for its reporting, even the crappy MSM.

  2. Sorry, Ben of Houston. A precursor is not a “component of” a compound if any of its atomic constituents are not contained therein. Mike knows exactly what he is speaking of, and is merely pointing out that as asserted in the article, “nitrogen oxide, a component of ground-level ozone” is demonstrably contrafactual, assuming that ozone bears its customary meaning, “triatomic oxygen” or O3. I should advise, contrary to your suggestion, that “environmental” usage should conform to normal usage if it, to say nothing of its users, is to be taken seriously. BTW, we can all guess what may, might, or must have been meant by that phrase, but we should not have to guess!

  3. Ben of Houston | January 1, 2012 at 5:02 am | Reply
    “Seriously, take some basic environmental lessons before you criticize”

    While NOx is one of the ozone precursors you should be aware of a couple of facts- the vast majority of the VOCs are natural epoxides and we can assume that with the larger forest coverage of 200 years ago that VOCs were also higher than today. And it can be strongly argued that NOx atmospheric concentrations are far less today than they were 150 years ago when as an example we remember over 100million acres of prairie burned every year. The Pre- Euro contact soil-waterlogging conditions (altered by agric. draining activities) favored conditions that caused an explosion in soil nitrogen fixation and fire- prior to modern suppression -acted as the pump for this nitrogen into the atmosphere. (the alkaline ash from fire provided the needed alkalinity for nitrification that could fix 500-1000kgN/ha/y in soils)

    The original prairie soils were so high in nitrogen as the result of the above processes that many of the first domestic cattle died of nitrogen poisoning. Nitrate salt crusts were common during dry periods on prairie soils. Crystals of potassium nitrate were visible in corn stalks in the late 1800s and a spark could cause entire fields to burn like a fuses. NOx and VOCs are lower now than 150 years ago and EPA wants them lower.

    EPA’s concerns with NOx and particulates have doomed the prairies – because with out a return to the fire cycles needed to maintain this ecosystem they cannot survive. And EPAs air quality rules make the necessary burning all but impossible. I’m not sure what EPA is doing but it seems to have little to do with science or the environment.

    I continue to ask a basic question- does EPA have the authority to set air standards lower than the “natural background condition.”?

  4. A lot of things are pollutants. The question in this issue is two-fold: 1) are the current conditions dangerous? and 2) will the proposed EPA rules make conditions less dangerous. The answer in either case needs to show us the bodies.

    Be careful before placing studies. Many of them are based on correlations, not taking into account case histories of those who are supposedly affected.

  5. Dixie, cooling influences, whatever. Sulfur is a pollutant in an of itself and far worse than any extrapolated effect of global warming. Sulfur is toxic, an irritant, and stinks to high heaven even at a ppm level. Sulfur cap and trade was the most successful single program of all time in improving American Air Quality. Whether or not further reductions are beneficial is a valid question, but do not DARE think that sulfur isn’t a pollutant.

    Seriously, do you people not know anything about environmental care and the actual effect of emissions? Do we need to have captcha questions asking to list the five criteria air pollutants before you press the “Post Comment” Button?

  6. Unwise, we can’t leave the rest of our brothers and sisters high and dry. Besides, take Houston’s words to heart. He didn’t vote against the confederacy. He said anyone who showed up to vote was a bloody traitor who deserved to be steamrolled by the Union forces.

  7. You either know nothing about what you speak, or you are being ridiculously specific.

    NOx is a precoursor for ozone formation. It’s well known. NOx+VOC+Sunlight forms ground-level ozone.

    Seriously, take some basic environmental lessons before you criticize.

  8. The fact that a stay was granted acknowledged that the challenge has legal merit. While the courts are generally very favorable towards the EPA, the facts of the case are outright ludicrous.

    The absurdly short time frame shows general incompetence and separation from reality, and when Luminant announced that it was closing two Dallas power plants, the EPA’s “no, you don’t have to do that” reaction when every other group, including industry, ERCOT, and the TCEQ said that a number of power plants would shut down shows that they really didn’t know what they were doing.

    This doesn’t look good for the EPA.

  9. The text is not accurate. NO2 is not a “component of ground-level ozone”. Under certain conditions, including sunlight, the NO2 acts like a catalyst to create ground-level ozone (O3), which can lead to ozone smog. Nitrogen in the upper atmosphere is also converted to NO2 through the action of the sun and oxygen, where it again acts as a catalyst in creating upper-atmospheric ozone, an important gas in blocking UV radiation.

  10. The EPA order includes sulfur dioxide (SO2). The net effect of SO2 is to cool the atmosphere and the surface. SO2 + H2O -> H2SO4 molecules -> Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN)-> Water Droplets accumulate on CCN -> Clouds -> Albedo & Shade -> Cooling.

    Even the UNFCCC and its models agree about the net effect of SO2, but the EPA committed to SO2 regulation some time ago.

    We can’t tolerate any cooling influence, can we? The game would be up.

  11. Julyboy pushes jobs that are not part of the science, so his remark is political spin. That I agree with him about jobs has nothing to do with CO2, etc., in the atmosphere and how much these push climate. If the policy wonks and the politicians would shut up, we could have a look at climate changes, a possibly illuminating subject. Geologist

  12. The basic problem is the mainstream news media is incompetent and biased to the lies of a socialist agenda. Sex and scare mongering is the mantra of a news journalists. It is time for tort law, malpractice suits against journalists who present biased or erroneous information without a specific lead-in statement stating that the article maybe biased or inaccurate! Every subscriber to a newspaper should get their money back when a paper has erroneous information. Advertisers should get a complete refund! And the audio/video media? simply fine them $1M per report that contains misinformation. Watch would would happen to global warming alarmists, to the Democrat eco-terrorists? There i nothing news journalism fears more than a requirement for the news to be accurate!

  13. NO2 will liberate an O ion in the presence of UV radiation…oh forget it! Go read a high school chemistry book! The text is accurate.

  14. Ozone, whether in the upper atmosphere or at ground level is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. Period. There is no nitrogen oxide in the make-up of ozone, it is its own compound. The statement by the so-called reporter is a clear indicator of the agenda of the leftists in journalism. Just a little bit of actual journalism on the part of the reporter, and the sentence would never have been written. It is no wonder that “journalistic integrity” is as big an oxymoron as “political ethics”.


  16. This stay is because of unreasonable compliance timing. It does not appear anyone has made a substantive rebuttal to the validity of the need for the rule. This only appears to delay the inevitable. Unless, Obama is a one termer. One can always dream.

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