Appeals Court Lifts Stay on Cross-State Rule; Oral Argument Scheduled for March 2015

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Oct. 23 — A federal appeals court lifted a stay on the Environmental Protection Agency's cross-state pollution rule Oct. 23 and set a briefing schedule that culminates in oral arguments in March 2015.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would require 28 states to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by power plants in order to help downwind states attain national ambient air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate matter. The rule was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed implementation on Dec. 30, 2011.

The EPA petitioned the court in June to lift the stay. The agency acknowledged that undecided issues remain in the lawsuit, but said none of the remaining arguments raised by the petitioners warranted continuation of the stay.

The D.C. Circuit also denied motions to vacate the rule. It set a briefing schedule for the ongoing litigation, with briefs for the petitioners (EME Homer City) due Dec. 10; a joint brief by intervenors and amicus curiae in support of petitioners due Dec. 12; the brief for the respondent (the EPA) due Jan. 16; briefs for intervenors supporting the respondent due Jan. 23; and reply briefs of petitioners due Feb. 6.