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EPA withdraws cross-state air pollution direct final rule

In a May 16, 2012, notice in the Federal Register, the EPA withdrew a direct final rule that would have revised emissions budgets and new unit set-asides for various states under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. On February 21, 2012, the EPA had published this direct final rule alongside a proposed version of the rule. At that time EPA stated that if it received comments critical of the direct final rule, it would withdraw the rule and take comments on the proposed version of the rule. EPA received adverse comments to the direct final rule from both industry and environmentalists. Industry groups filed suit over the direct final rule in April. Reports indicate that these suits were a safeguard in case EPA did not follow through on withdrawing the rule, and that the withdrawal will likely end these suits.

The direct final rule would have revised emissions budgets for Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. It also would have revised new unit set-asides for Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri.

The direct final rule was set to take effect May 21, had it had not been withdrawn. The EPA stated that it intends to act on the parallel proposal as expeditiously as possible and will address relevant comments in that action. The direct final rule and parallel proposal are a part of the Cross-State AirPollution Rule, which has been stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit pending a resolution of EME Homer City Generation L.P. v. EPA.

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