A Bush-era rule that allowed power plants and factories to participate in regional cap-and-trade programs instead of installing modern emissions-cutting technology has been ruled “inconsistent with the Clean Air Act” by the DC Court of Appeals. Further, the three-judge panel found that in nonattainment areas — where smog levels top federal standards — “a small number of sources purchasing allowances and increasing emissions could mean that overall emissions from sources in the area remained unchanged, or even increased.”

This ruling is a small part of a much greater judicial unraveling of most Bush Administration policies on air pollution regulations. “The deregulatory pollution agenda of the Bush Administration is in tatters,” said Natural Resources Defense Fund Council lawyer John Walke. (Source: New York Times, July 10, 2009).

Contact: Ashok Gupta, Program Director, Air & Energy, National Resources Defense Council, (212) 727-2700, agupta@nrdc.org, www.nrdc.org; Richard Ossias, Associate General Counsel, Air and Radiation Law Office , US Environmental Protection Agency, (202) 564-7606, ossias.richard@epa.gov, www.epa.gov