EPA is on a legal winning streak.
The Supreme Court has a reinstated a major rule to curb soot- and smog-forming power-plant pollution that damages air quality in the eastern United States.
Tuesday’s 6-2 ruling arrives two weeks after an Appeals Court upheld a separate rule to cut mercury and other air toxics from power plants.
The high court’s decision Tuesday revives the cross-state air-pollution rule, overturning a 2012 Appeals Court decision that sided with industry groups and states that challenged the regulation.
Both power-plant rules are major pillars of President Obama’s first-term air-quality agenda.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the cross-state rule, when phased in, will prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis, and 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma annually.
The rule requires states in the eastern half of the U.S. to cut emissions from power plants that blow across state lines.
The decision rejects the Appellate Court finding that EPA took an overly expansive view of its power to force emission cuts under the Clean Air Act’s “good neighbor” provision.
“EPA’s cost-effective allocation of emission reductions among upwind States is a permissible, workable, and equitable interpretation of the Good Neighbor Provision,” states the ruling authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and supported by Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Justices Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer.