On June 26, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a
series of challenges to EPA's greenhouse gas regulations under
the Clean Air Act ("CAA"). Coalition for Responsible
Regulation, Inc., et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No.
09-1322, No. 10-1073, No. 10-1092; American Chemistry Council v.
Environmental Protection Agency, No. 10-1167. The petitioners,
representing various states and industry groups, challenged several
of EPA's rulemakings related to greenhouse gases under the
authority of the CAA, specifically, (a) the Endangerment Finding,
in which EPA determined that emissions of greenhouse gases may
reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare; (b)
the Tailpipe Rule, which established greenhouse gas emission
standards for cars and light trucks; (c) EPA's longstanding
position that the permit requirements for the construction and
modification (PSD) or operation (Title V) of major emitting
facilities is triggered by emissions of any pollutant that is
regulated under the CAA that exceeds certain statutory thresholds;
and (d) the Timing and Tailoring Rules, which, in effect, set a
phased-in approach for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from
stationary sources, starting with only the largest emitters.
The D.C. Circuit rejected the challenges to the above actions on
the grounds that EPA's decisions with respect to the
Endangerment Finding and the Tailpipe Rule were neither arbitrary
nor capricious and that EPA was unambiguously correct in
interpreting the CAA to include greenhouse gases in its PSD and
Title V permitting programs. The court avoided addressing the
merits of the Timing and Tailoring Rules, dismissing the challenges
to those Rules on the grounds that the petitioners lacked standing.
The court reasoned that the petitioners failed to establish
standing because they could not show that the Timing and Tailoring
Rules were the cause of their purported injuries and because they
could not show that those injuries were likely to be redressed by
vacatur of the Rules. Petitioners had argued that, although the
result of a favorable decision by the court would "unleash
chaos" resulting in "astronomical costs," those
injuries would be redressed because Congress would be compelled to
take corrective action. Quoting the popular Schoolhouse Rock song,
"I'm Just a Bill," the court reasoned that
"it's not easy to become a law," and that standing
could not rest on the hypothesis that Congress would pass, and the
President would sign, legislation that alleviated the
petitioners' purported injuries.
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