So EPA can’t cheat in the name of public health.
On Friday the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the Obama EPA to reconsider its rulemaking for emissions from cement kilns (Portland Cement Association v. EPA).
EPA defended rushing through the rulemaking without defining a key term on the basis of air quality and public health. The court dismissed this argument as follows:
… EPA asserts it could not delay finalizing the NESHAP rule until after it promulgated a definition of solid waste. EPA insists such a delay would have been harmful to air quality and health. Perhaps. But reasoned decisionmaking is not a dispensable part of the administrative machine that can be blithely discarded even in pursuit of a laudable regulatory goal. “The importance of reasoned decisionmaking in an agency action cannot be over- emphasized. When an agency . . . is vested with discretion to impose restrictions on an entity’s freedom to conduct its business, the agency must exercise that discretion in a well- reasoned, consistent, and evenhanded manner.”
This noteworthy dicta from the D.C. Circuit may very well reflect a court newly skeptical of EPA — a circumstance that may bode well for other ongoing litigation involving the agency, including the greenhouse gas and cross-state air pollution regulations.