While the Senate deadlock continues over the “clear skies” plan (don’t give even money for a resolution this week), and while we await EPA’s so-called “clean air interstate rules” (expect attempts at positive pr to deflect attention away from an atrocious decision on toxic mercury), there are two very interesting developments today outside DC:
1) The Justice Department has announced a new source review settlement with Illinois Power. This is one of the cases brought by the Clinton administration. This is the sort of case that could not have happened under the “clear skies” plan, which would obliterate new source review. This settlement undercuts the arguments of “clear skies” proponents because it demonstrates that we can reduce pollution effectively by enforcing the current Clean Air Act.
2) Indiana is suing the US EPA over the federal government’s recent decision to designate 19 areas of Indiana as out of compliance with fine-particle soot standards. Indiana asks in its suit that all but three of 19 areas be removed from U.S. EPA's non-attainment list for fine particle pollution that will become effective April 5, 2005. As our friend, John Walke of NRDC noted today, there are a couple of grim ironies here: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and EPA Administrator-designate Stephen Johnson stood side by side last month, while Johnson announced that “Clear Skies also would help Indiana counties that violate federal standards for smog and soot comply with the limits; and one of the central complaints lodged by proponents of Clear Skies is the argument that there is too much litigation under the current Clean Air Act.