Senators seek Supreme Court intervention in EPA smog fight

By Sean Reilly | 05/02/2024 06:41 AM EDT

Utah Republican Mike Lee and three colleagues argued that regional circuit courts should handle lawsuits over EPA’s rejection of state smog plans.

Mike Lee gestures as he speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks during a press conference outside the Capitol. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Four Republican senators are urging the Supreme Court to wade into a jurisdictional scrap that looms over EPA’s latest bid to limit state-hopping smog emissions.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee and three colleagues wrote a friend of the court brief asking the high court to accept a recent appeal from Utah and Oklahoma. The states’ petition argues that an appellate court erred in its choice of the proper venue for legal challenges to EPA’s disapproval of state “good neighbor” smog control plans.

“There are a lot of hard Clean Air Act (CAA) cases. This is not one of them,” wrote Lee and Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Ted Budd of North Carolina.


The Clean Air Act’s good neighbor provision gives the federal government authority to regulate cross-state emissions. Before releasing its federal plan last year — which aims to limit smog-forming emissions in 23 states — EPA first rejected the states’ alternative plans. Many of those states, including Utah and Oklahoma, have challenged EPA’s rejection in court.