Florida joins Nebraska, 5 other states in challenging federal air pollution rule

Sep 23, 2011

The following article was published in The Florida Current on September 23, 2011:

Florida joins Nebraska, 5 other states in challenging federal air pollution rule

By Bruce Ritchie


Florida has joined Nebraska and five other states in challenging a federal rule designed to protect states from pollution caused in other states, Attorney General Pam Bondi said Friday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July adopted the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule for ozone and fine particle pollution. The EPA said the rule nationwide will achieve $280 billion in health benefits including preventing 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and 1.8 million sick days beginning in 2014.

The EPA says the new rule replaces and strengthens the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule, which a federal appeals court ordered EPA to revise in 2008. The benefits, EPA, says, far outweigh the $800 million in projected annual costs and the roughly $1.6 billion per year in capital investments already made as a result of the earlier rule.

Bondi on Friday issued a statement that echoed the increasingly anti-EPA stance being adopted by some Republicans. Bondi also has joined Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in suing the EPA over federal water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus that industry and utility groups say will be too expensive and ineffective.

In her statement on Friday, Bondi said the EPA air pollution rule requires a “disproportionate” reduction in air emissions from Florida, but she didn’t say how much reduction.

She also said her office will continue to protect consumers from “unnecessary and costly federal regulation,” but she didn’t say how much the rule could cost Florida. 

A motion requesting filed by Nebraska and Florida a court delay of the rule says the it will cause “tremendous harm” to the economies of both states. But it provides no specific information about Florida — only Nebraska. 

Bondi’s office does not have information specific to Florida on the cost, said Jennifer Krell Davis, the press secretary for the Attorney General’s Office. But she cited EPA’s nationwide cost numbers and said Florida electric utilities are trying to determine the cost. 

“The problem with our Florida utilities is they can’t put a number on it at this point,” Davis said.

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