The Environmental Protection Agency asked a federal appeals court Friday to reconsider its rejection of a rule intended to sharply reduce emissions that cross state borders from aging coal-fired power plants.
A three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the rule in August. In the new filing, the EPA asked the full appeals court to review the case.
In the earlier 2-1 decision, the court ruled that the EPA overstepped its authority with the new regulation, which was one of the hallmarks of the federal government’s recent efforts to improve air quality.
Led by Texas, 14 states and several power companies challenged the legality of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which imposes caps on nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants in eastern states. Texas, for one, feared that some utilities would shutter plants to comply with the rule, threatening the state’s ability to keep the lights on.
The EPA has said the rule is necessary to reduce lung-damaging pollution that causes thousands of premature deaths and respiratory illnesses each year around the power plants and in downwind states.
Besides Texas, the states challenging the rule are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.