Court accepts major EPA challenge

Oct. 15, 2013 at 1:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on greenhouse emissions.

An eventual decision could affect emitters of greenhouse gases.

The regulations were established after a Supreme Court ruling in 2007's Massachusetts vs. EPA that directed the agency to regulate greenhouse gases from new vehicles if they present a danger to the public. At issue is whether those regulations apply to stationary emitters.

Industry groups filed six challenges to the regulations, but a divided appellate panel in Washington rejected them and the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit refused to rehear the case.

One of the petitions accepted by the Supreme Court asks: "Did Massachusetts vs. EPA ... compel EPA to regulate GHGs [greenhouse gases] under [federal law] operating permit programs where doing so would extend those programs' coverage to tens of thousands or even millions of small sources that Congress intended not to regulate, and expand a program focused on preventing significant deterioration to include a pollutant -- carbon dioxide -- that does not deteriorate air quality?"

In accepting the case, the justices limited argument to one question: "Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases."

The high court consolidated the challenges. The justices should hear argument sometime later in the term.

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