Federal Court Upholds EPA Emissions Rules
Here’s a bit of good news for all of you who care about the environment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution emission rules issued under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The court, in a unanimous opinion by the three-judge panel, rejected legal challenges against the Climate Pollution Endangerment Finding, Clean Car Standards and Timing and Tailoring Rules. The EPA issued the rules in response to the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA that GHGs are air pollutants subject to regulation under the CAA.
“In the end, petitioners are asking us to re-weigh the scientific evidence before EPA and reach our own conclusion,” the panel wrote in the 82-page opinion. “This is not our role.”
Looking at a partial list, compiled by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), of the petitioners is telling. The list includes companies, business groups, states and politicians:
- Coal companies including Peabody Energy and Arch Coal
- Coal-burning utilities including Southern Company and American Electric Power operating through the Utility Air Regulatory Group
- Oil companies operating through the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the Western States Petroleum Association
- Agribusiness groups including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation
- Climate change denial groups including the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute and FreedomWorks Foundation
- Business groups such as U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- States such as Texas and Virginia
- Tea-party politicians such as Texas Governor Rick Perry and Congressional member Michelle Bachmann
“Polluting industries such as big coal and big oil oppose action to limit climate change, refusing to modernize and resisting newer technologies,” said Earthjustice attorney Howard Fox, counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, part of the team of attorneys defending the EPA rules. “This case underscores these industries’ dogged resistance to safeguards designed to protect the public’s health and the environment. Notably, the automobile industry did not join these misguided challenges, but instead opposed these big industrial polluters’ efforts to overturn the standards that apply to cars.”
“This is a huge victory for our children’s future. These rulings clear the way for EPA to keep moving forward under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution from motor vehicles, new power plants, and other big industrial sources,” said David Doniger, senior attorney for the Climate and Clean Air Program at the NRDC.
Photo: Flickr user, Public Domain Photos