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Federal appeals court halts EPA effort to impose air pollution plan in Missouri

Missouri Smog Regulation
Posted at 12:04 PM, Jun 01, 2023

A federal appeals court has put on hold an Environmental Protection Agency regulation aimed at reducing air pollution in Missouri, drawing criticism from environmentalists but praise from the state's attorney general who called the proposal “unconstitutional overreach.”

Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced Wednesday that the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week granted his request for a stay, preventing the EPA from imposing the regulation until the appeals process plays out. It was not immediately clear if the EPA would appeal. A message left Thursday with a spokesperson was not immediately returned.

At issue is a “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act which requires states to submit a plan detailing how they will address air pollution from sources like power plants and industrial facilities that can drift to neighboring states. The EPA deemed Missouri's proposal inadequate and in March finalized its plan for the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

“The court has thankfully put on hold the attempt by Biden’s EPA to unlawfully expand the federal government’s authority, displace Missouri’s ability to set our own energy policy, and force Missouri consumers to pay higher prices,” Bailey said in a news release. “We will always stand in the gap to protect Missourians against the federal government’s unconstitutional overreach.”

Jenn DeRose, Missouri campaign representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, noted that St. Louis is in the midst of several straight days with dangerously high ozone levels. Meanwhile, DeRose said, Bailey “took to Twitter to celebrate this disastrous decision as the children in our community had to start their summer with a higher risk of coughing, asthma attacks, and chest pain."

The appeals court issued its ruling without comment.