Georgia Department of Law, from the office of Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General


D.C. Circuit Sides with Georgia and Invalidates Onerous EPA Regulation

August 21, 2012

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the State of Georgia and declared that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) violates federal law. Attorney General Sam Olens filed a lawsuit in October 2011 seeking to halt the overreaching regulation.

Olens applauded the decision by the D.C. Circuit. “The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is another overt power grab by the Obama Administration from the States. I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit agrees that the EPA exceeded its authority when it mandated job-killing requirements on the States by executive fiat. After Congress didn’t pass President Obama's cap and trade policy, his Administration attempted to implement onerous regulations contrary to existing law. The Court is right that the Clean Air Act is not a ‘blank check’ for the executive branch to force states into a one size fits all solution. I look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that our air is protected in a manner that respects the rule of law and the principles of federalism.”

CSPAR, finalized by the EPA in the summer of 2011, requires that certain states limit their power plant emissions more than is required by law under the Clean Air Act, and denies states the flexibility to implement federal standards themselves. As the Court said, “EPA’s approach punishes the States for failing to meet a standard that EPA had not yet announced and the States did not yet know.” 

The scientifically-flawed rule would require far more emissions reductions from Georgia than is permitted under law and would put Georgia at a disadvantage relative to neighboring states. In order to meet the new emissions requirements, draconian reductions in certain emissions would have to be made, causing major and costly changes to the way electricity is produced in the State. Georgia families and workers, already struggling to recover from the Great Recession, would bare the brunt of the burden in the form of higher energy costs. Georgia was joined by TexasKansasNebraskaAlabama, FloridaOklahomaSouth Carolina, and Virginia in challenging the EPA’s CSAPR rule.

A copy of the order is attached.

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