In Court

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

overriding powers: The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will now have the authority to overrule state government decisions on what would be the 'best available' anti-pollution technology for power plants and other industrial units. The decision was welcomed by Vermont and 12 other states that had filed a brief supporting a limited review authority by EPA. This, they contended, would encourage comparable pollution control requirements, regardless of the state.

Attorneys general Kevin Leske and Erick Titrud authored the brief for the states. The case dwelled on a zinc and lead mine in Alaska whose expansion proposal was accepted by state regulators. Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation had initially allowed the mine to install a less effective pollution control technology than EPA would have required. The question for the court was: who should have the final word on which pollution control technology was required?

In a majority decision, the court declared that the EPA played a limited but vital role in preventing states from straying too far from the proposals of the Clean Air Act. It observed that the states could be tempted to lower pollution standards to win the industry's favour.

net cast wider: The Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and IBP Company Limited, along with the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments, have received notices from the Supreme Court (SC) in the petrol and diesel adulteration case. The SC bench, headed by Chief Justice V N Khare, has given the parties four weeks to file their replies.

Earlier, taking cognisance of a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) expos on fuel adulteration in Delhi, the SC had issued notices to the Union government and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL). But HPCL contended that it could not do anything unless others involved in the problem were also brought to book.

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