Air pollution coming from coal power plants requires much stricter limits because coal power plants are among major air pollutants, causing serious health problems, such as heart diseases. Having this in mind, many people greeted the finalization of EPA's Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule which occurred in July, 2011.
The main purpose of this legislation was to enable implementation of stricter federal limits on pollution from coal-fired plants with the intention to protect human health from harmful air pollutants.
But sadly, on the last day of 2011, a U.S. federal appeals court delayed this role after Texas together with some other U.S. states argued that it was too soon for this rule because there isn't enough time left to design and install adequate pollution control equipment to meet the rule, which would result in large number of coal power plants to either shut or to run only part of the time.
This yet again proves the enormous power of fossil fuel lobbies in United States as yet another decision went their way under the well known excuse "this would hurt our industry too much".
The fossil fuel lobbies have forgot that the costs of implementing the rules will be offset by savings from reduced healthcare expenses. EPA states that the Cross State rule "will save up to 34,000 lives, prevent 15,000 heart attacks and prevent 400,000 asthma attacks each year, providing $120 billion to $280 billion in annual health benefits for the nation."
Clean air is one of the main prerequisites for healthy life but apparently to U.S. federal appeals court coal power plants are more important than human health.
This court decision is just one more proof confirming the well known fact that environmental laws still carry very little weight in United States. Good old Uncle Sam still cares first and most about the almighty dollar.