Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling in favor of EPA regulation of cross-state air pollution from coal-fired power plants. Today, one of North Carolina’s best-known and most respected environmental advocates celebrated the decision and the efforts of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in making the whole thing happen. This is from Molly Diggins, head of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club:
“In 2002, North Carolina, with bipartisan support, passed the Clean Smokestacks Act, which directed the State of North Carolina to seek similar reductions from coal-fired power plants upwind to those the state was mandating from NC’s coal-fired power plants.
Using the Good Neighbor provisions of the Clean Air Act, Attorney General Roy Cooper asked the EPA to get reductions from upwind states that were impacting NC’s ability to have clean air, despite the stringent cleanup standards in Clean Smokestacks. The EPA responded with protections for states like North Carolina that are downwind of polluting states. But their action was challenged in court.
After a long and winding road of litigation, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the EPA’s response to that request. 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 thousands of North Carolinians and millions of Americans.
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.
Thanks, Mr. Cooper, for getting the ball rolling.”