Federal appeals court rules for EPA on greenhouse gas emissions

[JURIST] The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Tuesday upheld [opinion, PDF] the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] that heat-trapping pollutants such as carbon dioxide are endangering the public health and welfare. The court reviewed four rules: the Endangerment Finding [text, PDF], the Tailpipe Rule [materials], the Timing Rule and the Tailoring Rule [texts, PDF]. It unanimously held that "1) the Endangerment Finding and Tailpipe Rule are neither arbitrary nor capricious; 2) EPA's interpretation of the governing CAA provisions is unambiguously correct; and 3) no petitioner has standing to challenge the Timing and Tailoring Rules." The findings at issue laid out the foundations for EPA's new restriction of greenhouse gas emissions placed on car models build in 2012 and on new regulations on permits for power plants and factories. The 82-page ruling was criticized by industry leaders and politicians who claim that Tuesday's holding will impose heavy burden on the industries, resulting in possible economic stagnation.

The EPA has been granted [JURIST report] authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) [official website; EPA backgrounder] to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, by automobiles. In Massachusetts v. EPA [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], 12 states and several environmental groups sued the EPA arguing that the agency had "abdicated its responsibility under the Clean Air Act" to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The court held that greenhouse gas was within the CAA's definition of "air pollutant" and thus, the EPA had statutory authority to take control the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles.

 

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