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Friday, August 18, 2006

Ind. Decisions - "U.S. wins round in air pollution fight"

Yesterday's decision by the 7th Cricuit in USA v. Cinergy Corp. (see ILB entry here) is reported in this AP story by John Heilprin, headed "U.S. wins round in air pollution fight." It begins:

WASHINGTON -- The government won a round Thursday in a long-running dispute over how much authority it has to force industrial plants to cut air pollution.

Its victory over Cinergy Corp. and its power plants in Indiana in a federal appeals court in Chicago could help the Supreme Court decide the issue in a similar case this fall.

The Supreme Court's decision -- which is shaping up as a test of the Bush and Clinton administrations' competing legal approaches for cutting air pollution -- would affect up to 17,000 industrial plants and the unhealthy air breathed by 160 million Americans.

The facilities are major sources of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to smog, acid rain, soot and other fine particles that lodge in people's lungs and cause asthma and other respiratory ailments.

The Cinergy case turned on whether its power plants could spew more pollutants into the air when they modernized to operate for longer hours. The Environmental Protection Agency said no, because Cinergy should have gone through a federal permit process, and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago agreed.

"Cinergy's suggested interpretation, besides not conforming well to the language of the regulation ... would elude the permit requirement," Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote for a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 18, 2006 09:54 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions