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Thursday, April 26, 2007

EPA proposes first new power plant pollution standard since high court ruling
Bernard Hibbitts at 3:33 PM ET

[JURIST] The US Environmental Protection Agency [press release] Wednesday proposed a new rule [press release] for the calculation of power plant emissions subject to additional pollution controls, adopting a standard recently criticized by the Supreme Court in a ruling earlier this month. The new Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Nonattainment New Source Review: Emission Increases for Electric Generating Units [PDF text; EPA fact sheet] indicates that power plants can utilize an hourly emissions rate for pollutants instead of the annual rate traditionally used, a change which critics and environmentalists say allows a plant to pump more pollutants into the air over time. A spokesman for the EPA said that the agency was empowered to use the new standard in the context of a new rule.

In Environmental Defense Fund v. Duke Energy Corp. [opinion; JURIST report] the high court said that a lower court had improperly ruled in favor of Duke Energy in its own challenge to the annual standard, although the court did not rule on the legality of an hourly standard as such. AP has more.

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