WASHINGTON (CN) - Makers of off-road vehicles, including airplanes and boats, cannot intervene in a lawsuit in which the Center for Biological Diversity asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicles, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. barred the Air Transport Association of America, the National Business Aviation Association, the Aerospace Industries Association of America and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association from intervening in support of the EPA.
The off-road industry claimed the action brought against the EPA by five environmental organizations will "cause them injuries sufficiently concrete to confer standing here: the imposition of new aircraft emissions standards, and the development of such standards on an accelerated timetable," Judge Kennedy wrote in his Memorandum Opinion and Order.
New aircraft emissions standards will "have enormous consequences for commercial and business aircraft operators in terms of investment in aircraft, asset value of existing fleet, maintenance support, and the conduct of operations," the industry argued.
"The Court does not doubt, and plaintiffs do not contest, the accuracy of this assertion," Kennedy wrote. But he agreed with the environmentalists' argument that the economic consequences of new emissions standards are "too hypothetical" to show injury for standing purposes.
Nor did Kennedy buy the industry's argument that an accelerated timetable for imposing the regulations would result in significant cost hikes. He cited the environmentalists' claim that they wanted an accelerated timetable for endangerment findings, not for the promulgation of any new regulations.
"Because movants fail to identify an injury that is concrete, certainly impending, and fairly traceable to a judgment of the Court, they cannot establish standing and may not intervene as of right in this action," Kennedy wrote.
The original complaint was filed in 2010 by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, the International Center for Technology Assessment and Oceana.
"On a cumulative basis the United States is by far the world's largest emitter of greenhouse pollution, and the transportation sector accounts for roughly one-third of all U.S. emissions. Ships, aircraft, and nonroad engines in turn represent a significant part of solving the climate crisis," the organizations wrote in their federal complaint.
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