Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 1: "Appeals Court Hears Challenge to EPA Rules "

From the Wall Street Journal:
Judges on a U.S. appeals court appeared skeptical Tuesday of industry challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, a key determination for Obama administration rules regulating carbon-dioxide emissions.

The EPA finding set the stage for the government's first greenhouse-gas emissions standards on cars, set to begin with the 2012 model year, and new rules on permits for power plants and factories.

The Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals is hearing two days of oral arguments on the EPA rules. Industry groups representing chemical, energy, farming and mining companies, as well as Republican lawmakers, are among those challenging the rules. They say the regulations are the most costly, burdensome and precedent-setting regulations the agency has ever issued.

The outcome of the cases could determine whether the EPA can press forward with current and future greenhouse-gas regulations.

During the first day of court hearings, members of a three-judge panel said they were required by law to give deference to the EPA's finding that greenhouse-gas emissions were very likely responsible for most global warming over the last half-century, and were a threat to humans and the environment.

To prevail, the industry challengers would have to show the EPA's findings were arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of government discretion.

"You seem to be asking us to determine that the EPA is incorrect, but that is not the standard," Chief Judge David Sentelle told a lawyer for the challengers. Such a determination "would not be enough to win the case for you," he said.

The appeals court also expressed doubts about challenges to the EPA's ensuing greenhouse-gas standards for cars. The challengers are primarily concerned about how the auto rules triggered EPA permitting regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions from industrial facilities. Auto makers support the rules.
Most of the challengers' arguments Tuesday appeared to meet with resistance from the court....MORE
Tomorrow: the "tailoring" rule.