Court Upholds Endangerment Finding and Tailoring RuleJune 27, 2012
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld EPA’s “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health and welfare — a finding that provides the bases for all of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules - and the EPA's tailoring rules. The case, Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA was decided partially on the merits and partially on a lack of standing.
On the merits, the court rejected challenges to the EPA’s “endangerment finding,” relying heavily on the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. The Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, ruled that GHGs are an air pollutant, giving the EPA not only the authority to act but almost a duty. In the current case, the lower court found “[The CAA] requires a precautionary, forward-looking scientific judgment about the risks of a particular air pollutant, consistent with the CAA’s precautionary and preventive orientation.”
The court refused to take up the petitioners arguments on the EPA’s tailoring rules, citing a lack of Article III standing. Large emitters of greenhouse gases cannot challenge the EPA’s decision not to regulate smaller sources because forcing the EPA to regulate everyone provides no meaningful readdress.
The court's ruling clears the way for additional greenhouse gas regulations from the EPA, and places the regulatory reform ball sqarely in Congress's court.
This post was authored by GLLF staff attorney Emily Kelchen.