Bush attempts to weaken Clean Air Act are illegal, court rules

Americans who breathe scored a big victory on Friday, when a federal appeals court declared illegal the Bush administration’s long-running effort to undermine pollution rules for coal-fired power plants and other pollution-belching industrial facilities. Judge Judith Rogers, writing for the court, castigated the U.S. EPA for trying to redefine language in the Clean Air Act to selectively exclude many facilities from the requirement that they install new air-pollution controls when making significant upgrades. “EPA’s approach would ostensibly require that the definition of ‘modification’ include a phrase such as ‘regardless of size, cost, frequency, effect,’ or other distinguishing characteristic,” Rogers wrote. “Only in a Humpty Dumpty world would Congress be required to use superfluous words while an agency could ignore an expansive word that Congress did use. We decline to adopt such a worldview.” Oh, snap! Enviros and the 14 states that brought the case hailed the decision. No word yet on whether EPA will appeal.