Wednesday, July 24, 2013

State Of Mississippi v. U.S. EPA

Jul 23: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. No. 08-1200, consolidated with 08-1202, 08-1203, 08-1204, 08-1206. On Petition for Review of a Final Rule Issued by U.S. EPA. In this high profile case, involving dozens of attorneys, the Appeals Court summarizes briefly saying, ". . .we consider several challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's most recent revisions to the primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone. For the reasons given below, we deny the petitions, except with respect to the secondary ozone standard, which we remand for reconsideration."
    By way of background and summarizing the overall opinion, the Appeals Court says, "Challenging the revised primary and secondary NAAQS, various parties, including several states, the District of Columbia, New York City, and several industry, environmental, and public health groups, filed these petitions for review. We then granted EPA's unopposed motion to hold these cases in abeyance to allow the agency to review the 2008 revisions and determine whether they should be reconsidered. In September 2011, EPA indicated that it was withdrawing its reconsideration proceedings and would instead be completing the reconsideration in conjunction with the next periodic review. Several parties filed petitions for review, challenging EPA's withdrawal of the reconsideration rulemaking. Finding that we lacked jurisdiction over EPA's non-final action, we dismissed the petitions and set a briefing schedule for the present case.
    "We now confront the parties' competing petitions for review. One set of petitioners -- comprising several states, the District of Columbia, New York City, and a number of environmental and public health groups -- thinks the primary and secondary NAAQS are not protective enough, while the other set -- comprising the state of Mississippi and several industry groups -- thinks they are too protective.

    "This opinion considers each of these claims in turn. We reject Mississippi and the industry groups' challenge to the primary and secondary standards in Part II. We explain our denial of the governmental and environmental petitions with respect to the primary standard in Part III and our grant of these petitions with respect to the secondary standard in Part IV.

    "In considering challenges to NAAQS, 'we apply the same highly deferential standard of review that we use under the Administrative Procedure Act.' ATA III, 283 F.3d at 362. Accordingly, 'we will set aside the Agency's determination only if it is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law." ' National Environmental Development Ass'n's Clean Air Project v. EPA, 686 F.3d 803, 809–10 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 7607(d)(9)(A)). And 'we do not look at the decision as would a scientist, but as a reviewing court exercising our narrowly defined duty of holding agencies to certain minimal standards of rationality.' Id. at 810 (internal quotation marks omitted). That said, "we perform a searching and careful inquiry into the underlying facts." ATA III, 283 F.3d at 362 (internal quotation marks omitted)."

    In its conclusion, the Appeals Court says, "Because EPA failed to determine what level of protection was "requisite to protect the public welfare," EPA's explanation for the secondary standard violates the Act. We therefore remand this portion of the final rule for further explanation or reconsideration by EPA. In the meantime, we leave the standard in place rather than vacating the rule. . . Given these principles, neither EPA nor petitioners advocate vacatur. For the foregoing reasons, we remand the secondary NAAQS to EPA for reconsideration in view of this opinion. In all other respects, the petitions for review are denied.

    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Air, #CADC]

No comments: