Marten Law: EPA Proposes New Rules for Power Plant Emissions

Marten Law: EPA Proposes New Rules for Power Plant Emissions

   By Dustin Till, Associate, Marten Law Group PLLC

“A new rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants in Eastern and Midwestern states. Known as the Transport Rule, EPA's proposed regulation replaces EPA's Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which would have established an interstate trading program for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from power plants,” writes Dustin Till. “CAIR was struck down in 2008 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which called the rule ‘fundamentally flawed.’ The court kept CAIR in place temporarily while EPA developed a new rule addressing the interstate transport of air pollution, and it remains in place until EPA's new rule is finalized."

“The proposed Transport Rule will require significant reductions in SO2 and NOx emissions from power plants in 31 states and the District of Columbia,” the author explains. “Such emissions are often transported by air currents and impact the ability of downwind states to comply with the Clean Air Act's ambient air quality standards for particulate matter and ground-level ozone. The new rules would allow for intrastate (and limited interstate) trading between regulated entities. EPA estimates that the program will reduce power plant SO2 emissions by 71 percent and NOx emissions by 52 percent.”

“Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tex.) have proposed legislation (S. 2995) that would preempt the Transport Rule and authorize EPA to establish an interstate trading program for NOx, SO2, and mercury,” the author, an associate with the Marten Law Group reports. “S. 2995 would require an 80 percent reduction in SO2 by 2018 and a 50 percent NOx reduction by 2015. Senators Carper and Alexander were hoping to attach S. 2995 to the Kerry-Lieberman climate legislation. However, now that the Senate has abandoned efforts to move climate legislation forward this session, the fate of S. 2995 remains uncertain.”

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As a lawyer with the Marten Law Group, Dustin Till practices environmental and land use litigation with a special focus on climate change issues, permitting, and environmental review in the Pacific Northwest. Dustin represents clients in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska on a broad range of environmental matters, including permitting and energy infrastructure siting. Dustin shares his climate change expertise on behalf of Marten Law Group writing ongoing articles for Lexis Nexis’ Environmental Law and Climate Change Center. Dustin has appeared before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, federal district court and the Washington State Court of Appeals.

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