Court and Spark
The U.S. Supreme Court set the stage yesterday for a landmark environmental ruling by announcing its decision to hear a case that will determine whether the government went too far in 1997 in setting tough national clean-air standards. Last year, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., invalidated EPA standards that could have forced a 10 percent reduction in air pollution nationwide, siding with the American Trucking Associations and other industry groups that argued the agency had failed to justify the standards. The appeals court ruled that the EPA was unconstitutionally impinging on the law-making authority of Congress. The Clinton administration appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court agreed to consider the case. The EPA says that its standards would protect the health of millions of Americans, but some business groups believe the standards would be too costly. The court’s decision, which could have far-reaching effects on a number of federal agencies, is expected next year.