A federal court has thrown out a challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The suit was brought by Texas and Wyoming.
“Accordingly, because petitioners lack Article III standing to challenge the rules, we dismiss the petitions for lack of jurisdiction,” according to the majority opinion by Circuit Judge Judith Rogers.
A federal appeals court ruled 2 to 1 that the states lacked standing to sue the EPA to stop the agency from overriding the states and implement greenhouse gas permitting systems. The states were also joined by the National Mining Association, Peabody Energy Corp. and two groups of unnamed power companies.
“While I respect the court’s authority, I remain disappointed that President Obama continues to try to overrun Congress by regulating carbon emissions,” Texas Republican Rep. Pete Olson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The fact remains that overly strict carbon regulations have the potential to ripple through the economy, costing jobs and impacting almost every facet of life in America. Such regulations will reduce our global competitiveness by giving an edge to countries that don’t follow suit.”
On Friday, the court concluded that the Clean Air Act required large greenhouse gas emitters to obtain permits. Since the EPA’s limited actions allowed emitters to get permits that they otherwise would not be able to get, neither the energy companies nor the states had legal grounds to challenge the agency.
“Today’s ruling from the D.C. Circuit is disappointing,” said Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in a statement. “The EPA has effectively re-written the Clean Air Act to impose its new standards, imposed severely restrictive timelines on the states to implement its new requirements, and then twisted the Act to immediately impose its agenda on Texas. In light of all of this, it is remarkable that the D.C. Circuit has repeatedly found no harm to the states with respect to EPA’s greenhouse gas rules.”
The decision was met with glee from environmentalists and regulators.
“Instead of using its taxpayer dollars to litigate and obstruct clean air protections, Texas should invest in expanding its world-class wind energy resources, and in building a stronger clean energy economy,” said Peter Zalzal, an attorney for Environmental Defense Fund, which intervened in the case.
“EPA is pleased with the court’s decision to leave the GHG permitting structure in place,” an EPA spokesperson told TheDCNF. “The agency is continuing to evaluate the court’s decision.”
Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented, arguing that EPA regulations give the states three years to revise the clean air rules before the agency can intervene and didn’t put a moratorium on construction during that period.
Kavanaugh added that it would be “borderline nonsensical” for the agency to only give states three years to comply while imposing new standards during that time.
“A state that took advantage of the three-year period would do so at the expense of bringing major construction in the state to a grinding halt,” said Kavanaugh.