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Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corp.
Hearing date: November 1
Massachusetts v. EPA
Hearing date: To be announced
At issue: Separate appeals on federal clean air standards. Duke deals with whether power plants that innovate with emission control technology can in turn operate with more hours and thus release more pollution. Massachusetts deals with what role, if any, the federal government should play in regulating carbon dioxide emissions.
The cases and arguments: In Duke, a lower court ruled power plants do not have to get permission to release more pollutants into the air when they modernize to operate for longer hours. Massachusetts centers on whether CO2 emissions constitute a "pollutant" under the Clean Air Act, requiring federal regulation. The EPA and the Bush administration argue the gas is not a pollutant, and that they alone have the discretion to decide such matters.
The impact: Both cases involve Bush administration reversals of Clinton-era policies.