May 27, 2017

EPA Considers Repealing Two Obama Air Pollution Rules

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The Trump administration is considering whether to repeal or revise two major Obama administration regulations limiting air pollution from large sources.

Justice Department attorneys asked the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit late Tuesday to delay scheduled oral arguments in two separate cases involving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules.

The most major action concerns the landmark 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, one of the most costly Obama administration rules that has been responsible for shutting down hundreds of coal-fired power plants.

The EPA is reviewing whether it supports a 2016 regulation that the Obama administration wrote to fix a problem that the Supreme Court found when it ruled in 2015 that the EPA did not follow the law in writing the mercury rule.

“In light of the recent change in Administration, EPA requests continuance of the oral argument to give the appropriate officials adequate time to fully review the supplemental finding,” the attorneys wrote, adding that the prior positions taken by the agency with respect to the supplemental finding may not necessarily reflect its ultimate conclusions after that review is complete.”

The administration did not indicate whether it is reviewing the underlying 2012 rule.

But Earth justice, which is representing numerous organizations in the litigation to defend the rule, slammed action, saying it is an attack on the mercury standards.

“These limits on power plant pollution, which have now been in place for two years, have cut power plants’ emissions and greatly reduced the threat to kids’ health and development,” James Pew, the Earthjustice attorney on the case, said in a statement.

“Scrapping them now would bring poisons back into kids’ lungs, blood, and brains and will cause thousands of people to die — prematurely and unnecessarily — from breathing in power plants’ soot pollution.”

Scott Pruitt, now the EPA’s administrator, sued to stop the rule when he was attorney general of Oklahoma, labeling it part of the Obama administration’s “war on coal.”

The Obama administration had predicted that the rule would cost $9.6 billion, produce between $37 billion and $90 billion in benefits and prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases annually.


Source: EPA considers repealing two Obama air pollution rules | TheHill

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