EPA’s good neighbor rule shut down by Supreme Court

The EPA will no longer be able to enforce its good neighbor rule on downwind pollution.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision blocking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing a key rule restricting air pollution in nearly a dozen states.

The EPA’s “good neighbor” rule aims to restrict smokestack emissions from power plants and other industrial sources that pollute downwind areas with smog-causing pollution.


The big picture: Three energy-producing states – Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia – the steel industry, and other groups challenged the rule, calling it costly and ineffective.

  • The ruling is on hold in a dozen other states due to legal challenges.
  • The conservative-led court’s decision is seen as another blow to federal regulations under the Trump administration.
  • The rule aims to protect downwind states that receive unwanted air pollution from other states.

Driving the news: It requires states that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, to submit plans ensuring that coal-fired power plants and other industrial sites do not significantly add to air pollution in other states.

  • The EPA has stated that power-plant emissions dropped by 18% in 2023 in the 10 states where it has been allowed to enforce its rule, which was finalized last year.
  • Opponents of the rule, including some Republicans and business groups, denounce it as an example of government overreach.
  • Supporters of the rule argue that it is critical to address interstate air pollution and to ensure that all Americans have access to clean air.
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