Yesterday, June 6, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a one-year delay of EPA’s final designation of areas under the 2015 ozone standard. The 2015 standard was issued on October 26, 2015 and tightened the existing 2008 standard from 75 ppb to 70 ppb. In general, EPA is required to issue designations within two years of publication of a new standard. Designations for the 2015 standard were originally due by this October, and EPA would have been required to preview for the states its intended designations at least 120 days in advance of the October deadline – by this August. Continue Reading EPA Extends Deadline for Final Area Designations under the 2015 Ozone NAAQS
In the Rose Garden of the White House, President Trump fulfilled a key campaign promise today by confirming that the United States will begin withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Agreement (“Agreement”). President Trump cited the Agreement’s potential financial and economic burdens as a key reason for the withdrawal. Continue Reading U.S. to Withdraw from Paris Climate Deal
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued orders holding litigation challenging two major climate regulations in abeyance—the “Clean Power Plan” and the “Carbon Pollution Standards” for new and modified electric generating units. Both rules were critical components of the Obama Administration’s climate change agenda by requiring steep cuts in CO2 emissions from existing and new power plants, respectively. In the orders, the court granted EPA’s motion to hold the case in abeyance, but only for 60 days. The court also ordered EPA to file status reports every 30 days. The court further directed the parties to submit supplemental briefs by May 15th to address whether the cases should be remanded to EPA instead of held in abeyance.
The orders can be found at the following links: Clean Power Plan & Carbon Pollution Standards. For more information or questions on these cases, please contact Peter Glaser, Margaret Campbell, or Mack McGuffey.
On April 24th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order indefinitely delaying oral argument and holding in abeyance litigation over EPA’s 2015 Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction (SSM) Rule. The order comes in response to EPA’s request for a continuance to allow it to review the SSM Rule for possible modification or repeal. EPA must file status reports on its review of the SSM Rule at 90-day intervals beginning 90 days from the date of the order. Within 30 days of EPA informing the court of what action it has or will take with respect to the rule, parties to the litigation must file motions to govern future proceedings.
In a split decision, a California appellate panel recently affirmed a lower court’s decision upholding the state’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. Challengers, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Pacific Legal Foundation, argued that: (1) the California Air Resources Board (CARB) acted outside of its authority when it created a cap-and-trade program that included an auction of emission allowances, and (2) the revenue generated from the auction sales constitutes an impermissible tax. California’s Proposition 13 requires taxes to be approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature.
In an April 18th letter to petitioners who requested reconsideration of EPA’s Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed and Modified Sources Rule, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency’s intent to convene a proceeding for reconsideration of the rule’s fugitive emissions monitoring requirements. In its current form, the rule imposes limits on methane, volatile organic compounds and toxic air emissions from new, modified and reconstructed sources in the oil and natural gas industry. EPA also plans to issue a 90-day stay of the compliance date for the fugitive emissions monitoring requirements.
On April 18th, EPA filed motions in separate cases asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to delay pending litigation over two Clean Air Act (CAA) rules. In one case, EPA asked the court to delay oral argument, scheduled for May 18th, in the litigation challenging its supplemental findings regarding the cost of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule, which regulates hazardous air pollutant emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. EPA argues that a continuance is appropriate because it intends to review the supplemental finding for possible modification or repeal, citing President Trump’s recent “Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”
In an April 11, 2017 Order, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted EPA’s petition to indefinitely delay oral argument in the Ozone NAAQS litigation. Originally scheduled for February 16, 2017, oral argument was rescheduled for April 19, 2017. EPA petitioned the court to further delay oral argument because it intends to review the NAAQS rule. In granting EPA’s request, the court ordered that the NAAQS litigation be held in abeyance. EPA must file status reports on its review of the NAAQS rule at 90-day intervals, beginning 90 days from this Order. Within 30 days of EPA informing the court of what action it has or will take with respect to the rule, the parties must file motions to govern future proceedings. The court’s Order can be accessed here.
The federal appellate court hearing the appeal of EPA’s “Section 111(b)” regulations establishing a carbon capture and storage “new source performance standard” for new coal-fueled electric generating stations has today suspended the April 17, 2017 date for oral argument in the case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said it was suspending the oral argument date pending its consideration of EPA’s motion to hold the case in abeyance in light of President Trump’s recent Executive Order ordering EPA to review the Section 111(b) rule and the Clean Power Plan. EPA’s abeyance motion was filed Tuesday night, and today all of the State and industry petitioners challenging the rule filed a response in support of the motion. States and environmental interest groups supporting the Section 111(b) rule have not yet filed formal oppositions to the abeyance motion but have indicated they intend to do so. The court’s action does not mean that it will grant EPA’s request to hold the case in abeyance, only that it does not wish to proceed with oral argument at this time while it considers the future of the case.
The court’s action also does not affect the parallel EPA motion to hold the Clean Power Plan in abeyance. No responses to that motion have yet been filed.
Flanked by two dozen coal miners, Vice President Mike Pence, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and joined by various coal state congressmen and industry executives, President Trump visited EPA headquarters yesterday to sign a long-anticipated Executive Order to end the previous administration’s so-called “war on coal.”