The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that EPA overstepped its statutory authority in regulations aimed at easing states’ implementation of the tightened 2008 ozone air quality standards.
The Natural Resources Defense Council took EPA to court over a May 2012 rule that relaxed some states’ deadlines to meet 2008 ozone air quality standards. The rule also revoked requirements for a transportation emissions program for areas already meeting the air quality limits, even if they hadn’t gone through the official process to show they are now meeting air quality standards.
During oral arguments, Judges David Tatel, Sri Srinivasan and A. Raymond Randolph said they understood EPA’s reasons for interpreting the statute the way it did, but they were unsure whether the agency had stayed within the boundaries of the law.
In the ruling issued today, the judges said “that both challenged aspects of EPA’s regulations implementing the 2008 ozone standards exceed the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act.”
Judge Raymond Randolph wrote a dissenting opinion saying the court’s decision was “a mistake in judicial analysis” that will create significant headaches for both the EPA and states.
The court vacated the challenged parts of the rule.
ABC News: Court Rejects 2 Ozone Regulations
Scientific American: Environmental Group Wins Legal Challenge over U.S. Ozone Rule Deadlines