Since the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated EPA’s Clean Air Interstate Rule in its entirety, EPA and Congress have been working on a variety of fixes. As we recently noted, Congressional Democrats recently put together a plan to enact CAIR’s Phase I SO2 and NOx limits. Enacting those limits would result in emissions reductions of approximately 45% of SO2 and 50% for NOx.
However, to enact the limits during the 110th Congress, the bill would require 2/3 support in the House and unanimous consent in the Senate. The word is now out on Republican reaction to the planned fix, and the word is not good. Key House Republican Joe Barton rejected a request from Democrats that he support the quick CAIR fix. While Representative Barton stated that he was willing to make a thorough review of the Clean Air Act, including CAIR, a priority for the next Congress, he is not willing to expedite a CAIR fix in this Congress.
Without support from key Republicans such as Representative Barton, it is difficult to see how Congress can enact a CAIR fix in the 110th Congress. Nonetheless, pressure is certainly going to continue to build to fix or replace CAIR, if not in this Congress, then in the next.