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Report: U.S. SC orders petitioners in EPA greenhouse gas case to keep briefs short

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 1, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the petitioners in a case challenging the Obama administration's greenhouse gas regulations to keep their briefs short.

According to The Blog of Legal Times, the nation's high court told the six petitioners in the consolidated case in an order Tuesday that their briefs must be 45,000 words total.

Normally, the six petitioners -- a total of nine parties -- would have been able to file separate briefs of 15,000 each.

In October, the court granted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's petition for writ of certiorari.

Abbott and the attorneys general of 11 other states asked the court in April to review the legality of the administration's greenhouse gas environmental regulatory scheme.

In their petition, the states argued that the federal Environmental Protection Agency violated the U.S. Constitution as well as the federal Clean Air Act by "concocting" its greenhouse gas regulations without Congressional authorization.

The states contend that the EPA ignored Congress' law-making role by rewriting federal laws through administrative rule-making.

They want the Supreme Court to overturn the administration's "attempts to unilaterally implement policies in the absence of congressionally delegated authority" and to "rein in a usurpatious agency and remind the President and his subordinates that they cannot rule by executive decree."

The other 11 states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also is a petitioner.

The Supreme Court granted the petitions for writs of certiorari in five other, related cases: Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA; American Chemistry Council, et al. v. EPA, et al.; Energy-Intensive Manufacturers v. EPA, et al.; Southeastern Legal Foundation v. EPA, et al.; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. EPA, et al.

However, the high court granted the petitions limited to the following question:

"Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases."

The court hasn't yet scheduled oral arguments; however, they could take place in February.

According to the court's order granting the petitions last month, a total of one hour will be allotted for argument.

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

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