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EPA Rule Unfairly Harms Wisconsin, AG Schimel Leads Multi-State Legal Action

WI DOJMADISON, Wis. – Earlier this year, the outgoing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS (CSPAR II). In Wisconsin v. EPA, Wisconsin is leading the challenge to this rule in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the ground that as an “upwind” state, Wisconsin power plant sources contribute very little nitrous oxide to “downwind” states and also on the ground that the EPA has admitted the rule, as written, would fail to ensure Wisconsin is in compliance with the 2008 Ozone NAAQS in any event.

“In Wisconsin, we value our natural resources and take appropriate steps to ensure our citizens can enjoy clean air and water,” said Attorney General Schimel. “However, emissions from other states are causing Wisconsin to fall out of compliance with EPA regulations. As a result, we must take appropriate legal actions to defend Wisconsin from potential penalties and costly mandates.”

The rule requires affected power plants in Wisconsin and 21 other states to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to a specified level by early 2017. The rule is intended to reduce the transport of NOx to “downwind” states, causing areas of those states to be in violation of the earlier promulgated version of the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. Wisconsin is unique in that it is both an upwind and a downwind state under the new rule.

Joining Wisconsin in the challenge are the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and Wyoming.

Wisconsin is currently challenging the EPA over the 2015 NAAQS in a separate case filed earlier this year, Murray Energy v. EPA.