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U.S. court tosses challenge to EPA's greenhouse gas 'endangerment finding'

Published 07/20/2023, 05:52 PM
Updated 07/20/2023, 06:10 PM
© Reuters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sign is seen on the podium at EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ting Shen

By Clark Mindock

(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday declined to reconsider lawsuits challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide, pose a danger to human health and welfare.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council and the FAIR Energy Foundation, which advocate against regulations promoting clean energy.

The groups in 2022 had challenged the EPA’s decision not to reconsider its 2009 greenhouse gas endangerment finding, which they claim has spurred climate regulations that drive up energy costs.

The finding gave the EPA the responsibility to regulate greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act, leading to a raft of regulations in the past 14 years targeting emissions from trucks, cars and airplanes, as well as emissions from the power sector.

A three-judge D.C. Circuit panel threw out their consolidated lawsuits in May, finding the groups had provided "no evidence" that they or their members had been harmed directly by the finding.

David Wallace, the president of the FAIR Energy Foundation, said the groups are reviewing the decision and are considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The EPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EPA’s endangerment finding was finalized in 2009, and determined that six greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide and methane, pose a danger to human health.

Courts have rejected previous attempts to challenge the endangerment finding. The current challenge claims the finding is based on faulty science and that the EPA's refusal to reconsider it was arbitrary.

The EPA has said the finding is based on sound science, and well within its authority under the nation's clean air law.

© Reuters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sign is seen on the podium at EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ting Shen

The cases are Concerned Household Electricity Consumer's Council et al. v. EPA and FAIR Energy Foundation v. EPA, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, case Nos. 22-1139 and 22-1140.

For the petitioners: Harry MacDougald of Caldwell Carlson Elliott & DeLoach and Francis Menton of the Law Offices of Francis Menton

For the EPA: Brian Lynk of the U.S. Department of Justice

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