Court upholds EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations

| July 20, 2012

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has dismissed challenges to recent Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas rules.

On June 26, the court issued a per curiam opinion against the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, which is when the court publishes its opinion as a whole instead of written by individual judges. The coalition is a non-profit Texas corporation focused on Clean Air Act regulations and members include businesses and trade associations.

The appellate case was filed in 2009 and consolidated four cases brought by states and industries petitioning for review of recent GHG regulations. The petitioners asserted that the agency misconstrued the CAA and acted arbitrarily and capriciously.

The appellate court stated the agency had ample evidence to support the Endangerment Finding, that is, that GHG are harmful. That rule also obligated it to issue its Tailpipe Rule, which set carbon emission standards for cars and light trucks

The EPA had concluded the CAA requires major stationary sources of greenhouse gases to obtain construction and operating permits. The Timing Rule requires these permits begin 2011. However, to avoid a permitting burden on authorities and sources, it issued its Tailoring Rules, which requires only the largest stationary sources initially be subject to permitting requirements.

The court stated the petitioners lacked standing to challenge the timing and tailoring rules them because they had not been injured.