- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
On March 17, 2006, a federal appeals court agreed with arguments from 14 states and blocked the EPA from going ahead with regulations that could have lead to more air pollution from factories and power plants.
The states argued that new rules would have allowed existing businesses to modernize their systems without requiring them to install the most advanced pollution controls. The EPA has continued to deny that the changes would increase pollution.
“Today's victory means that thousands of Americans will not have their lives cut short because of the pollution that would have blown through this huge loophole,” said Janice Nolen, the American Lung Association's policy director.
Peter Lehner, environmental lawyer for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, said that the decision is expected to affect nearly 800 coal-fired power plants and up to 17,000 factories nationwide. Under the Clean Air Act, operators who do anything more than routine maintenance are required to add more pollution-cutting devices. Under the proposed change, industrial facilities could have avoided paying for expensive emissions-cutting devices if they spent less than 20 percent of the plant's value.
“We are disappointed that the court did not find in favor of the United States,” said EPA spokesman John Millett. “We are reviewing and analyzing the opinion and cannot comment further at this time.”