Yesterday Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined a coalition of jurisdictions in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its rule reversing the agency’s determination that it is “appropriate and necessary” under the Clean Air Act to regulate mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants.
In April EPA finalized its regulatory rollback that nullifies the required finding that policies are “appropriate and necessary.” The rule change alters the way costs and benefits are calculated when reviewing hazardous air pollutant abatement policies. If calculations of public health benefits from required reductions of pollution levels are under-calculated or compliance costs over-calculated, it could open up the standards to legal challenges. shortly afterwards a coalition of state AGs sent a letter to EPA expressing their frustration with the policy, and yesterday the coalition filed a petition for review in the D.C. Court of Appeals challenging the rule change.
“We are suing because the EPA is allowing fossil fuel power plants to poison our air, our water, and our children,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Fossil fuel industries have been complying with the MATS rule for years. It is absurd to decide that the COVID-19 pandemic (an airborne infectious disease) justifies more air pollution from toxic chemicals.”
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