An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality rule may be the next individual mandate.
The EPA finalized a new rule in July to reduce air pollution and attain clean air standards. The rule, called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), requires 27 states to reduce power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states.
CSAPR replaces the EPA's 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), another EPA rule challenged in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. A December 2008 decision kept the requirements of CAIR in place temporarily but directed EPA to issue a new rule to implement Clean Air Act requirements concerning the transport of air pollution across state boundaries. Out of that court order, CSAPR was born.
As of this week, at least 36 separate entities, including 15 states, had petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to enjoin or review CSAPR, reports The Economist.
So does everyone just hate clean air or is there a greater objection in play?
Industry leaders claim EPA is asking states to accomplish an impossible feat: reducing emissions by staggering rates in less than one year. "No matter how badly they want to comply, no companies can accomplish the installation of required emission control technologies in such a short time frame," according to Dan Juneau, President and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
The Obama Administration, however, is unlikely to compromise on CSAPR; the 2012 elections are rapidly approaching, and CSAPR is one environmental "success" story that President Obama can tout to distinguish himself from his predecessor and his potential successors among environmentally conscious voters.