EPA greenhouse gas rules face new legal challenges

“In terms of where the EPA is most vulnerable, it is probably the tailoring rule.”

Yes, let’s at least hope that breaking the law is still breaking the law.

Reuters reports:

U.S. limits on greenhouse gas emissions face a challenge in federal court this week from more than 100 industry groups and several U.S. states, the latest high-profile effort to halt or overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules.

Three federal judges will hear arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday at the D.C. Court of Appeals from groups seeking to overturn the regulations and also convince the judges that the science used by the EPA is wrong.

The EPA’s raft of recent clean air rules has divided the power industry between companies that have moved toward cleaner energy, including Exelon and NextEra and those who generate most of their power from coal, including Southern Co and American Electric Power.

Environmental groups and activists concerned about global warming support the EPA regulations because the U.S. Congress has not enacted legislation to cap emissions.

The petitioners, who combined a dozen separate similar lawsuits under the name the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, will target four EPA rules:

* The “endangerment finding” – the scientific finding made by the EPA in December 2009 that found that greenhouse gases endanger public health, enabling the agency to regulate them under the Clean Air Act.

* The “tailpipe rule” – the May 2010 rule, which set greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for new light-duty vehicles.

* The “timing rule” – the April 2010 rule that will require generators and industrial plants to apply for permits to cover greenhouse gas emissions once the rules for vehicles kick in.

* The “tailoring rule” issued in June 2010, which set a timeline to start requiring those industrial and utility sources to apply for permits according to the scale of their emissions.

On Friday, the EPA proposed that only the largest polluters would be required to hold carbon permits. The move was aimed at reducing burdens on states and local government permitting agencies…

Read the entire report.