An important federal environmental regulation that seeks to enforce stricter air quality standards in certain states was upheld by a United States Appeals Court in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. The legislation relates to polluting industry that damages the air quality in neighboring states. The court ruled that several legal challenges to the measure were invalid.
Government Also Ordered to Review Emissions Budgets
The court did not rule completely in favor of the federal government, however, as it also ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its 2014 emissions budgets, which had been set for specific states with regard to nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions. According to the court, the regulations will remain in effect during the government's re-evaluation and revision of the emissions budgets.
Parties that challenged the clean air law included Peabody Energy Corp, a coal company, and American Electric Power Company, an energy company.
Not the First Time Law was Challenged
This is not the first time the environmental protection law was challenged. In April 2014, the regulation was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a vote of 6-2. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority in the decision, saying that the EPA regulation was an effective way to place more responsibility on upwind states for emission reductions. She said that the EPA must consider the responsibility of each state for its proportionate emissions.
In a 2012 ruling, the appeals court originally tossed out the regulation, but this prompted the Obama administration to appeal to the Supreme Court, which upheld the legislation. This led to the 2014 decision upholding the rule.
Tuesday's decision related to different challenges to the rule.
Environmental legislation like this can affect the ability of businesses to operate profitably in certain industries. Meanwhile, such legislation can also give rise to new types of businesses as consulting firms are created to help companies overcome the new challenges presented by stiffer regulations.
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