EPA Air Quality Rule Upheld by Court's Greenhouse Gas Decision

By Andrew Lu on July 18, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The EPA's more stringent air quality rule that limits how much nitrogen dioxide emissions can be emitted near major roadways was upheld by a federal appeals court.

The upshot of the ruling is that car manufacturers, factories, and oil companies may all have to make significant changes to their business to comply with the rules.

More likely, the oil industry will appeal the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C., sending the case for possible review before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The new EPA air quality rule will limit how much exhaust can be emitted from things like car exhaust pipes and factory smokestacks to 100 parts-per-billion. The EPA said this rule is necessary to protect public health as nitrogen oxides have been linked to respiratory problems, especially in children and people with asthma, reports Reuters.

Representing more than 500 of the largest oil and gas companies, the American Petroleum Institute (API) opposed the new rule and said that the federal agency was acting arbitrarily and capriciously.

The API argued that the EPA cherry-picked data and relied on "questionable science" to support its decision. The organization argued that the new rules were far more stringent than necessary to protect public health and safety.

In its decision, the court of appeals did not say that the EPA had the best science backing up its new air quality rule. Instead, the court only noted that the agency's decision was not "arbitrary and capricious," finding that the agency had enough scientific backing to support its rule.

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