A Federal Appeals court in Washington D.C. has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – EPA – to not enforce its new cross state pollution rules until numerous lawsuits against the 2015 regulation are resolved.
The EPA cross state regulations that were finalized in October potentially have broad implications for the future of electric vehicles in the U.S. since half of the electricity produced comes from burning coal – a notorious source of SO2 as well as CO2, which electric vehicles – EVs – allegedly alleviate.
Currently 44% of coal-fired units in the country do not have advanced pollution controls, such as scrubbers or catalysts, installed to limit these emissions. Some utilities, and virtually all coal companies and Republicans are and have been vigorously fighting efforts to solve the health problem. New rules limiting deadly mercury pollution are just as contentious.
Powerplants in 27 states are affected by the new air pollution rules which have been under consideration and subject to intense lobbing and legal action for more than 20 years. The rule requires reduction in emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which the auto industry successfully undertook decades ago. The Appeals court will consider the legality of the rule sometime next year.
“The court’s decision is not a decision on the merits of the rule and EPA firmly believes that when the court does weigh the merits of the rule it will ultimately be upheld,” EPA said in a statement.
In an op-ed piece this fall, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wrote about efforts in the Republican controlled House of Representatives to undermine critical health and environmental protections.
In an op-ed “Too Dirty to Fail?” she said it is time for Americans to stand up for their right to clean air and clean water.
“Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House has averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” wrote Jackson.
“The ‘Too Dirty to Fail’ strategy uses today’s economic challenges as an excuse for removing vital health protections and entering our nation into what President Obama calls ‘a race to the bottom’ for the weakest environmental protections.”
“How we respond to this assault on our environmental and public health protections will mean the difference between sickness and health — in some cases, life and death — for hundreds of thousands of citizens,” Jackson said.
Environmentalists say more battles are ahead in ‘pay to play’ Washington, DC during what likely will be the most expensive presidential election in history – literally awash with billions in ‘contributions”’ from the extremely wealthy or “One Percenters” and large corporations.