Auto-Industry Challenge to Emissions Rules Fails

     (CN) – The D.C. Circuit dismissed an auto industry challenge to federal rules setting higher emissions standards for cars and trucks.
     In 2012, the D.C. Circuit upheld new emissions limits on cars and trucks after the Environmental Protection Agency made a finding that greenhouse gases “may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare.”
     One of the EPA’s set of rules set higher standards for car and light-truck greenhouse gas emissions. Various states and industry groups challenged the car rule and related regulations.
     In rejecting that challenge, the D.C. Circuit said, “EPA simply did here what it and other decision makers often must do to make a science-based judgment: it sought out and reviewed existing scientific evidence to determine whether a particular finding was warranted. … This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.”
     The D.C. Circuit rejected another challenge to the EPA’s rules governing fuel economy of trucks and greenhouse gas emissions last week.
     These rules were enacted in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
     This cooperative rulemaking doomed plaintiffs’ case on procedural grounds, the court said, because the D.C. Circuit does not have original jurisdiction over claims against the NHTSA.
     “Because a separate action – NHTSA’s standards – independently causes the same alleged harm as the challenged action, the California petitioners are unable to establish the ‘necessary causal connection’ between the EPA standards and their purported injury,” the panel ruled in an unsigned opinion.
     The panel was comprised of U.S. Circuit Judges David Tatel, Harry Edwards, and Douglas Ginsburg.
     While it’s theoretically possible that the EPA-specific portions of the rules caused plaintiffs a distinct injury, they did not advance that argument, according to the 19-page opinion.
     In addition, the court found that petitioner POP Diesel’s vegetable oil fuel business did not qualify for protection under the Clean Air Act.
     POP Diesel claims that the truck emissions rules makes its products economically infeasible, and asked the agency to reconsider its rule based on the harm it will cause to POP Diesel’s business.
     But a corporation’s interest in increasing the regulatory burden on others does not give it standing to sue, even if its products further the goals of the Clean Air Act.
     “The mere fact that POP Diesel’s financial interests currently appear to align with the goals of the CAA is not sufficient to allow it to challenge EPA’s emissions standards,” the opinion concluded.

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