ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY v. EME HOMER CITY GENERATION
The Clean Air Act creates a federal-state partnership that aims to control air pollution in the United States. The Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to both establish air quality standards and gives the states significant freedom to implement plans in order to meet those standards. Among the problems the Act sought to prevent was the possible spread of air pollution from “upwind” states to “downwind” states.
In 2011, the EPA created the Transport Rule, a rule which sets emission reduction standards for 28 “upwind” states based on the air quality standards in “downwind” states. Various states, local governments, industry groups, and labor organizations brought suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and argued that the Transport Rule created federal standards with no deference to the states, which violated federal law. The court held that the Transport Rule violated federal law because the Clean Air Act allows states to implement their own plans to curb air pollution.
1. Did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit have jurisdiction to hear this case?
2. Did the Court of Appeals correctly interpret the statutory language in the Clean Air Act when it reviewed the EPA’s actions?
3. Is an upwind state free from any obligations under the Transport Rule until the EPA has quantified that state’s contribution to downwind states’ air pollution?