Court ruling blocks efforts to halt EPA greenhouse-gas limits

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today denied requests from numerous industry groups and their allies that sought to halt regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency to control greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles and power plants and other large sources.

The EPA rules include an “endangerment” finding, which confirmed that carbon dioxide and other pollutants contributing to climate change jeopardize human health and the environment, and regulations establishing first-ever greenhouse-gas emissions standards for motor vehicles and for power plants and large stationary sources.

These rules were challenged by multiple parties, including electric utilities, coal companies, and other industrial interests, as well as members of Congress and numerous states. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was among those to challenge the endangerment finding upon which the other regulations are based.

The court ruling handed down today means the regulations will take effect as scheduled on Jan. 3.

The court ruling handed down today means the regulations will take effect as scheduled on Jan. 3. The court will hear the merits of the legal challenges next year.

“This is a sound ruling that allows these landmark regulations to take effect while the legal issues are aired fully before the court, rather than be delayed, as industry and its allies would prefer,” said Frank Rambo, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents several groups as intervening parties in two of the legal issues subject to today’s ruling.

“As Virginians, we continue to urge Attorney General Cuccinelli to withdraw his challenge and stand down in his misguided battle to prevent the EPA from doing its job to protect the environment and public health. Let’s use those taxpayer dollars on pursuing opportunities for the Commonwealth, like growing our clean energy sector to help create new jobs,” Rambo said.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.