Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The D.C. Circuit Court, which first considered AFPM's case, ruled that the refining industry lacked standing to challenge EPA's decision. The court reached this conclusion despite the fact that refiners are forced to produce new gasoline blendstocks, invest in the infrastructure necessary to carry two types of fuels, and face potential liabilities from engine damage because of EPA's decision. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit found EPA "ran roughshod over the relevant statutory limits." AFPM petitioned the Supreme Court to reconsider the district court's ruling, arguing that the DC Circuit's decision incorrectly limits the ability of injured parties to seek judicial review of federal agency actions.
AFPM said it continues to assert that EPA overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act when it granted partial waivers to allow the use of E15 in certain engines, including vehicles model year 2001 and newer. Objective tests have shown that E15 may cause engine damage in vehicles and therefore should not be an approved fuel under the Clean Air Act that can be sold in the general gasoline supply.
Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) said, "The U.S. Supreme Court is likely taking this case in order to reverse the D.C. Circuit panel's decision that is contrary to law and would further delay long-needed clean air standards necessary to protect our public health. The Supreme Court has twice upheld EPA's statutory responsibility to reduce dangerous air pollution. The D.C. Circuit panel's ruling is contrary to consistent Supreme Court decisions and should be reversed. We believe that the Supreme Court will uphold the EPA's scientific and technical expertise in moving forward to clean up the air we breathe, reduce asthma and protect public health, especially for children and the elderly."
The American Lung Association (ALA) issued a brief statement saying it applauds the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the appeal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Cross State Air Pollution Rule. "This Rule follows the 'good neighbor' principle established in the Clean Air Act to cut pollution that spreads across the borders of 28 eastern states. For too long, ozone smog and particle pollution have traveled far from their sources, threatening lives and health across far away state borders. If the Court upholds the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, these protections would save up to 34,000 lives each year. We look forward to sharing with the Court information about the health benefits of this important decision."
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the American Lung Association, the Clean Air Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. Other parties filed briefs in support of EPA's request, including numerous states and cities that are adversely affected by interstate pollution, and two major power companies. the Supreme Court decision means the High Court will hear an appeal of the lower court's decision during its next term, which begins in the fall. EDF general counsel Vickie Patton said, "This is welcome news for the millions of Americans afflicted by harmful air pollution from power plants."
Access the order (click here, page 6). Access the SupCt dockets (click here) and (click here). Access the SCOTUS blog for No. 12-1182 (click here). Access the SCOTUS blog for No. 12-1183 (click here). Access the ELPC statement (click here). Access the statement from ALA (click here). Access a release from EDF (click here). Access EPA's CSAPR website for background and further details (click here). [#Air]