Federal Court of Appeals Upholds EPA’s Plan for Cleaner Air in Pennsylvania


Court rules against Pennsylvania coal plant operators


Kathryn McGrath, kmcgrath@earthjustice.org

The Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s smog-reduction plan for Pennsylvania, denying a challenge from the operator of the Keystone and Conemaugh coal-fired power plants. This decision, affirming the ability of EPA to protect Pennsylvanians who suffer from unsafe levels of ground level ozone, or smog, is a major victory for public health. The EPA’s plan requires the installation of advanced technology to reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) from coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania.

Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, successfully challenged a prior, weaker ozone plan, and joined the current litigation in support of EPA’s more protective plan. In the current case, the Court held that EPA lawfully issued the stronger plan and properly set emission limits.

“The Court’s decision clears the way for strong action to reduce pollution and protect public health,” said Charles McPhedran of Earthjustice, who represented Sierra Club along with Earthjustice attorney Mychal Ozaeta and Zachary Fabish of the Sierra Club. “As the Court found, EPA leadership as well as of state-of-the-art pollution controls are critical to progress on clean air.”

The Keystone Generating Station in Pennsylvania.
The Keystone Generating Station in Pennsylvania. (Jon Dawson / CC BY-ND 2.0)

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