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Supreme Court Reversal & Air Pollution Report Card

Supreme Court Reversal & Air Pollution Report Card

Some of the major sources of air pollution are power plants, factories, and cars and trucks. (Photo courtesy of the DOE)

Host: Rebecca Williams
Show date: 04/28/2011

Summary:
This week, the Michigan Supreme Court's conservative majority reversed a major decision that allowed Michigan citizens to sue the state over pollution concerns.

In December, the high court ruled that state agencies that issue permits that result in harm can be named in a citizen suit. At the time, there was a liberal majority in the Court.

The office of Attorney General Bill Schuette asked the Court to rehear the case.

The newly conservative Court did that this week... and with an order reversed the December ruling.

Nick Schroeck is the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center.

“What the Court did is it basically potentially rolled back a layer of environmental protection by calling into question whether or not the state can be liable for its permitting decisions. So if the state permits something that goes on to harm the environment, arguably the state should be liable if they made a bad decision. And what the Court did is they’ve kinda called that into question.”

Schroeck says he expects this new decision will be challenged.



A related Environment Report story

The State of the Air report

More about particle pollution

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