Court Shoots Down Arguments Against EPA Regulations

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 20, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency this week, reports BNA Bloomberg.

The court's ruling upheld the EPA's air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide and rebuffed the industry petitioners' contentions that the EPA's standard came about through a flawed process.

The EPA, upon determining the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions, was bound to enact regulations. But the opponents of the regulations raised every possible issue, from flawed research to poor interpretation of the law.

The opponents to the EPA's standard included the American Petroleum Institute, the Utility Air Regulatory Group and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. They argued that the law was too stringent, resulting in a standard that exceeded what was necessary to protect public health.

They also aimed to discredit the Endangerment Finding relied on by the EPA in rendering its standard.

The history of the standard is this: Upon finding that greenhouse gasses endangered public welfare, the EPA was required to regulate to that extent. Their regulation extended to motor vehicle emissions and they enacted the Tailpipe Rule. The opponents to the Tailpipe Rule argued that it was arbitrary and capricious.

The problem for opponents was essentially that the Supreme Court had issued a ruling on the Clean Air Act, which negated any of their arguments on the construction of the law. The decision was Massachusetts v. EPA.

Furthermore, opponents argued about the phrase "any air pollutant," claiming that the phrase could be more narrowly interpreted in the EPA's regulations. Again, the D.C. Circuit rejected this argument, citing to the recent Supreme Court ruling.

So in light of the Supreme Court's opinion, this was a battle to lose for the industry groups.

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