Court denies attempt to block EPA climate rules
Lawsuit to prevent the EPA from requiring permits for pollution and other guidelines struck down.
Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 09:54 PM
Photo: ZUMA Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. federal court on Friday denied an appeal by industry groups to block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing greenhouse gas regulations early next year.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said opponents of EPA's planned regulations did not meet the "stringent standards" necessary for the court to stop the rules while various lawsuits proceed against the EPA's climate-related actions.
EPA rules to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, from major industrial sources are due to go into effect on January 2. The Obama administration is moving ahead with the rules after failing to pass a climate change law through Congress this year.
The rules face lawsuits from industry groups and states that question the federal government's authority to regulate ubiquitous greenhouse gases, and argue the EPA did not conduct enough of its own research when it made its finding that carbon is a danger to human health.
Critics of the regulations argue the EPA is not equipped to handle the enormous task of controlling emissions blamed for global warming, and onerous rules will damage the economy.
"In light of the substantial disagreement over whether federal, state and local regulators can be ready in time to impose preconstruction permit requirements by early January, the court may have ensured an effective construction moratorium for industrial and power projects," said Scott Segal of Bracewell Giuliani, a lobbying firm that represents utilities, refiners and manufacturers.
The court said in its ruling that opponents of the regulations did not prove that the negative consequences of allowing the regulations to forward were "certain" to occur and not "speculative."
Beginning in January, EPA will start requiring big emitters such as power plants, refineries and cement manufacturers to obtain permits for polluting greenhouse gases.
Companies will also have to adhere to EPA guidelines about the best technologies to use to control emissions when expanding or building new plants or factories.
Environmental groups lauded the court's decision to allow the regulations to move forward.
"We're glad the court rejected these baseless attempts by polluters to stall progress toward cleaner cars and safer air," David Baron, an attorney with Earthjustice, said in a statement.
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