D.C. Circuit affirms EPA standards on greenhouse gases

Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 27, 2012, 1:30pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A federal appeals court this week upheld the federal government's regulations limiting the emissions of greenhouse gas air pollutants.

In a ruling Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the federal Environmental Protection Agency's standards.

Vermont, New York and more than a dozen other states, along with the City of New York and a number of environmental groups, helped to defend the agency's standards.

In its 82-page ruling, the D.C. Circuit affirmed:

- The EPA's finding in 2009 that large-scale greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare;

- The EPA's standards requiring greenhouse gas emission controls on model year 2012-16 cars. Those standards are expected to result in the reduction of 960 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of those vehicles; and

- The agency's so-called "Tailoring Rule," a phase-in of the requirement that new and modified power plants, petroleum refineries and other industrial sources use the "best available control technology" to control their emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants.

"This decision helps clear the way for the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and deal with climate change," Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said in a statement.

"We have been fighting this battle for a number of years, and it is rewarding to see the EPA's standards upheld."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was one of the state attorneys general who supported the agency's Tailoring Rule.

"Today's decision is a critical victory in addressing the real and present danger posed by climate change, and stemming its harmful effects," he said in a statement Tuesday.

"The court clearly rebuffed the obstructionist tactics of some of the nation's largest polluters to impede action on climate change and paralyze our states in red tape.

"This decision will go a long way to ensuring essential reductions in climate change pollution and, thereby, vital protections for the health and welfare of New Yorkers."

To read the complete ruling, click here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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