Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Thursday, December 25, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

X-mas Present From The Court: Cleaner Air


A federal appeals court on Wednesday at least temporarily blocked a Bush administration rule, due to take effect on Friday, that would have relaxed existing regulations and so allowed hundreds of aging power and industrial plants to make upgrades without installing modern pollution controls.

The order, by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, indicates that the court has substantial doubt about the White House's claims that it has authority to modify the Clean Air Act by regulation and that its changes would not hurt the environment.
The ruling on Wednesday essentially places a burden on the administration to justify a regulatory change that it has been unable to accomplish through the legislative process...
When [the Clean Air Act] was enacted, it exempted from its requirements for modern, expensive pollution controls those plants that were already in operation. Lawmakers assumed that these "grandfathered" plants would be replaced over time by new ones.

Instead of building new plants, though, some utilities upgraded the existing ones, avoiding the costs of the emissions controls while adding to capacity, and to pollution.

In response, Congress modified the law, requiring that upgrades were to be considered "new sources" of pollution and thus subject to the control requirements. Industry subsequently objected that what environmentalists and government frequently considered upgrades were in fact nothing more than routine maintenance, which the requirements did not cover.

The battle has raged ever since...

Ah, the sweet smell of victory. Well, the battle ain't over yet, but we can breathe a bit easier this holiday. Have a merry...


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Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards

A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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