Victory for Obama's Clean Air Act


U.S. President Barack Obama‘s efforts to rein in carbon emissions with the Clean Air Act (CAA) enjoyed a lift this week thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in Washington.

The Obama administration had introduced legislation labelled ‘the good neighbour rule’ in 2011, to force Appalachian and Midwestern U.S. states to reduce the amount of smog emitted from coal-fired power stations which drifts across eastern states as far as the Atlantic coast.

The legislation, which applied to 28 states east of Nebraska, was struck out by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which ruled the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – the body responsonsible for enforcing the rule – had not followed the CAA when calculating responsibility for cross-state pollution.

But the New York Times reported on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned that decision in a victory which ‘legal experts’ say strengthens the ability of Obama’s hallmark anti-climate change CAA legislation to withstand legal challenges.

The decision will also boost confidence at the EPA which is expected to introduce further legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions next month, according to the Times report.

Republicans and the coal industry, who have labelled the CAA ‘President Obama’s War On Coal‘, said the ruling threatens jobs and energy security and will drive up energy prices and vowed to resist future EPA legislation.

With the good neighbour rules partly requiring the installation of technology to clean up coal-fired power plants in relation to each state’s ability to pay, the Supreme Court ruling was also branded ‘Marxist’ according to The Times, the heaviest insult that can be called upon by the U.S. right wing.