Environmental Protection Agency has won an important court
victory that may help clean the air in Ontario. About half of the
air pollution in southern Ontario blows in from the US, mostly from
coal-fired power generation stations. The EPA has been trying, for
many years, to force those stations to reduce their pollution,
which includes heavy
loads of smog-forming particles and mercury. Now it has
a Clean Air court win.
Burning coal produces smog and harms our health
The Canadian Medical Association National
Illness Cost of Air Pollution study put a huge dollar figure on the
health and economic costs of air pollution in Canada.
Clean Air court win: Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
The EPA has struggled to carry out a directive under the federal
Clean Air Act to protect downwind states from pollution generated
in other states by coal-fired power plants. On July 6, 2011,
the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule
that requires individual states to reduce air pollution and
attain clean air standards. This rule, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR),
requires states to significantly improve air quality by
reducing power plant emissions that contribute
to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other
The rule was immediately challenged by upwind states and
industry, which had succeeded in lower
courts. Now the Supreme Court has ruled 6 to 2 that the
EPA can enforce its rule. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
wrote for the majority that the agency must have leeway to
confront the "complex challenge" of interstate pollution.
She also quotes from the Gospel according to John:
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the
sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it
This Clean Air court win gives the Obama
administration a victory on one of its major environmental efforts.
calls it " a major victory for Earthjustice attorney
Howard Fox and other attorneys acting on behalf of the
Environmental Defense Fund, who have been defending the rule
alongside other environmental groups, the EPA, nine states, and
several cities. The unsuccessful challengers included electric
power companies and allied states."
The Clean Air court win should mean major emission
reductions will be required from about 1000 old, dirty coal-fired
plants, which should go a long way to improving air quality in
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