RFF on the Issues delivers timely policy insight from Resources for the Future
March 3, 2014
Note: RFF on the Issues will not be distributed on Monday, March 10.
Clean Air Act Court Review
The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, a case that questions the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to consider greenhouse gas emissions in Clean Air Act permits. Plaintiffs argue that the agency’s move to require such permits has imposed “far-reaching and near-ridiculous regulatory burdens
” on states and industries.
RFF’s Nathan Richardson
notes that while the case doesn’t directly concern any other parts of EPA’s plans to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act—including performance standards for power plants, which he calls “the most important part of EPA’s climate regulations
”—there’s some reason to worry that a loss for EPA could affect those performance standards indirectly.
China’s Smog Court Case
A man in northern China has become the first person to sue the government over the region’s severe smog. Li Guixin has requested that his city’s Environmental Protection Bureau “perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law
.” Observers note that smog has worsened in China despite the increase in anti-pollution mandates and policies.
China’s severe smog problems may not have an easy regulatory fix. As RFF’s Mun Ho writes
: “China may be winning battles but not the wars on emissions control, because its faith in mandates has met its match: an economy that is growing too fast, and atmospheric challenges that are too multifaceted for even the smartest planners to tame . . . . Such complexities caution against assuming that poor air quality results only from a failure to try to prevent it.”
New from Common Resources, RFF's blog on current research and policy debates: Alan Krupnick on environmentalists' misplaced obsessions; Nathan Richardson on the EPA's Supreme Court suit; Peter Nelson on lowering fuel costs using natural gas; and James W. Boyd on business motivations for conservation.
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