Dems Push for Reinstatement of Transport Rule

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) participates in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on December 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on foreclosure justice and causes and effects of the foreclosure crisis.  (National Journal)

Democrats voiced support for reinstatement of the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution rule following oral arguments on Tuesday in a Supreme Court case to determine whether an ealrier suspension of the rule will be upheld or overturned.

"Air pollution doesn't recognize state boundaries, so it is essential that EPA have the authority to enforce the Clean Air Act's good-neighbor rule, which requires upwind states to curb pollution that blows into downwind ones," House Committee on Energy and Commerce ranking member Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said in a statement. "EPA adopted a reasonable approach, which the Supreme Court should uphold," he said.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was intended to take effect in January of 2012 and was designed to reduce the amount of soot- and smog-forming emissions from power plants in upwind states from traveling across state borders into downwind states.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck it down, however, last summer.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., famous for making weekly addresses on the Senate floor urging Congress to act on climate change, similarly called for the court to reinstate the rule.

"The Court has an important choice: allow the EPA to do its job and protect the American people from dirty air, or allow the big polluters to have their way and continue dumping their pollution on downwind states. I hope the Court will rule in favor of the people."

Democrats backing the rule also have a long history of supporting EPA plans to limit carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.

Justices did not signal what their final decision in the case will be during oral arguments. A ruling is expected to be handed down sometime before the end of June.