A federal ruling last week rejecting the Bush administration’s roll-back of environmental regulations was a victory for Maine and other tailpipe states.
The three-judge panel ruled Friday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to exempt power plants, refineries and other polluters from the Clean Air Act rules was a gross misinterpretation of the law.
“Only in a Humpty-Dumpty world,” would the Bush administration’s reading make sense, they wrote in an unanimous decision. “We decline such a world view.”>/p>
Maine, along with 13 other states, had challenged the Environmental Protection Agency over that agency’s interpretation of a provision of the Clean Air Act.
That provision, the New Source Review, requires older power plants to install modern pollution controls when they undergo physical or operational changes that increase pollution.
Under Bush administration rules, however, the provision would only go into effect when upgrades amounted to over 20 percent of the replacement cost of the plant.
While the decision will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court it was a big victory for Maine and the other states.
Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe said the decision was particularly important for Maine because more than 85 percent of the pollutants that fall here come from elsewhere.
“We feel the brunt more than any other state from the emissions of these grandfathered power plants,” he said.
At the eastern end of the United States, Maine is an end consumer of pollution created in thousands of powerplants factories, refineries and chemical plants far from our borders.
It is not unreasonable for us to ask the Bush administration to enforce existing pollution laws.