Court Says EPA's Haze Plan Infringes On States' Rights


DATE: June 3, 2002

BACKGROUND: The U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. has voted 2-1 that the U.S. EPA overstepped its power in implementing what's called the "Haze Rule." In 1999, the EPA's Haze Rule imposed emissions controls on power plants in several states after the EPA claimed air pollution from these plants drifts into national parks. The court ruled that EPA could not force the plants to install pollution control equipment without "empirical evidence" that individual plants were contributing to the haze.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Once again the Clinton Administration's EPA made rules that would have cost millions of dollars without using sound science.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: States rights were upheld by this decision. The court reminded the EPA that the law doesn't allow all parties to be penalized just because one party is guilty. Only those facilities that contribute to the haze should be required to install new equipment -- not those that are not responsible.

DISCUSSION: The Court pointed out "that Congress intended the states to decide what sources impair visibility" and what "Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) should apply to those sources." EPA must now revise the Haze Rule to allow states to exempt those facilities that do not contribute to air pollution in the parks.

by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613