D.C. Circuit Court Vacates EPA’s Cross-State Emissions Rule

GT Law

In a 2-1 decision issued today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in EME Homer City Generation, L.P v. EPA, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its statutory authority in adopting the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR or Transport Rule).  The D.C. Circuit found that EPA’s Transport Rule exceeded the agency’s authority on 2 separate grounds, both of which violated the Clean Air Act and required that the Rule be vacated.

Led by Texas, various States, local governments, industry groups and labor organizations had challenged the Rule, which was a significant air policy regulation of the Obama administration.  Acknowledging the complexity of the facts,  Judge Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, noted that “the legal principles that govern this case are straightforward : Absent a claim of constitutional authority (and there is none here), executive agencies may exercise only the authority conferred by statute, and agencies may not transgress statutory limits on that authority.” The Court went on to note that its decision should not be viewed as a comment on the Rule’s wisdom or underlying merits but rather “to ensure that the agency stays within the boundaries Congress has set.”

©2012 Greenberg Traurig, LLP

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