Federal Appeals Court Upholds CO2 Rules

Jun 26, 2012 by

Dot Earth - New York Times blog

June 26, 2012, 11:29 am


The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has bluntly rejected challenges to the Obama Administration’s rules restricting carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Here’s the core conclusion of the panel and the full ruling:

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)—which clarified that greenhouse gases are an “air pollutant” subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act (CAA)—the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a series of greenhouse gas-related rules.

First, EPA issued an Endangerment Finding, in which it determined that greenhouse gases may “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” See 42 U.S.C. § 7521(a)(1). Next, it issued the Tailpipe Rule, which set emission standards for cars and light trucks. Finally, EPA determined that the CAA requires major stationary sources of greenhouse gases to obtain construction and operating permits. But because immediate regulation of all such sources would result in overwhelming permitting burdens on permitting authorities and sources, EPA issued the Timing and Tailoring Rules, in which it determined that only the largest stationary sources would initially be subject to permitting requirements.

Petitioners, various states and industry groups, challenge all these rules, arguing that they are based on improper constructions of the CAA and are otherwise arbitrary and capricious. But for the reasons set forth below, we conclude: 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. We thus dismiss for lack of jurisdiction all petitions for review of the Timing and Tailoring Rules, and deny the remainder of the petitions.

The court’s findings echoes a 2010 decision, discussed here: “Court Rejects Industry Challenge to Limits on Smokestack CO2.”

Here’s the full decision as a downloadable document (a thank you to Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch for distributing the decision this morning):

Appeals Court Rules in Obama’s Favor on CO2 Rules


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