Supreme Court Rejects Industry's Stance on Clean Air Rules

Feb. 27, 2001
The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the way the federal government sets clean-air standards, rejecting industry arguments that compliance costs must be balanced against the health benefits of cleaner air. The ruling, which is in favor of the federal Clean Air Act, said the law does not require the government to consider the financial cost of reducing emissions when it sets air-quality standards.
The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the way the federal government sets clean-air standards, rejecting industry arguments that compliance costs must be balanced against the health benefits of cleaner air.

The ruling, which is in favor of the federal Clean Air Act, said the law does not require the government to consider the financial cost of reducing emissions when it sets air-quality standards.

The court also ruled against industry arguments that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took too much lawmaking power from Congress when it set its standards for ozone and soot limits in 1997. However, the EPA was ordered by the court to reconsider the standards it set for ozone. The court said the agency's interpretation of that section of the Clean Air Act was unreasonable.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set national air-quality standards to protect the public health. The agency is to use criteria that accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge for identifying pollution's effects on health.

The trucking industry has long argued that EPA was setting standards without clear criteria and without considering the financial costs of complying with them. Government lawyers said the EPA considers compliance costs in deciding how states will try to meet the clean-air standards, and the law is intended to drive the creation of new technology for doing so.

A federal appeals court had ruled that EPA went too far in adopting new standards in 1997 to reduce particulate matter. The court said the government interpreted the federal law so loosely that it usurped Congress' authority.

The 1997 air standards limited ozone to 0.08 parts per million (ppm) instead of .12 ppm under the old requirement. States also were required to limit soot from power plants, cars and other sources to 2.5 microns, or 28 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

About the Author

Tim Parry

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...