AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - In a continuing effort by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, a brief has been filed challenging the Timing and Tailoring rules on behalf of nine states.
The Timing and Tailoring rules attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the federal Clean Air Act. According to Abbott's brief, the rules are a violation of federal law and should be struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
According to the brief, the EPA is ignoring unambiguous language in the Clean Air Act as a means of advancing greenhouse gas mandates. Under the Clean Air Act, stationary sources like factories or foundries that emit more than 250 tons of regulated substances are required to undergo arduous federal permitting requirements.
The statutory thresholds, from an emissions perspective, required by the permitting requirements are relatively low, Abbott contends, because the Clean Air Act was intended to regulate toxic substances that are directly harmful to the health and safety of humans.
Greenhouse gas emissions, Abbott's brief argues, are not directly harmful to people, unlike the toxic substances regulated by the Clean Air Act. If the act's thresholds were applied to greenhouse gas emissions, boilers found in schools, hospitals and large buildings would require federally approved environmental permits.
The EPA's Tailoring rule, the brief contends, ignores the permitting threshold, replacing them with criteria devise by eh EPA. The rule declares that the EPA will only regulate greenhouse gas emissions from sources emitting more than 75,000 tons per year. This means, Abbott's brief argues, that the EPA can disregard a federal statute and violate federal law.
The Timing rule says that the EPA must regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources after it regulates them from mobile sources like motor vehicles. Abbott claims that the EPA is misapplying federal law and violating the Clean Air Act through this rule.