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Alabama v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

State challenge to greenhouse gas tailoring rule

Various states have sued EPA over its tailoring rule, by which the agency is rolling out enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations to the largest facilities first, followed by smaller ones later. States must comply with EPA's new regulations. The NAM and 14 other business associations in our coalition have filed a motion to intervene in litigation filed by representatives of 8 states challenging EPA's authority. Their lawsuit seeks judicial review of EPA's plan to retroactively limit its previous approval of pollution thresholds in State Implementation Plans (SIPs). The states are likely to argue that EPA violated the Clean Air Act by its reinterpretation of existing regulations, which would result in significant additional costs to manufacturers regulated under state programs.

The NAM's intervention in this case is designed to assist the court in understanding the interaction between EPA's requirements, state implementation programs, and emissions permit requirements affecting manufacturers.

The NAM and other organizations have also filed a separate petition to review the EPA's tailoring rule. For a complete listing of NAM cases against EPA, click here.


Related Documents:
NAM motion to intervene  (August 30, 2010)

 

Alec L. v. McCarthy   (D.C. Circuit)

Litigation seeking to impose 6% annual reductions in greenhouse gases under "public trust" theory

This is an appeal of a decision dismissing claims by an environmental group that would force the government to impose further greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies under a "public trust" theory. The NAM intervened in the case in the trial court and helped obtain the favorable ruling there.

The appeal is now before the D.C. Circuit. For a full summary of our arguments in the district court, click here.

In our appeals court brief, joined by various trucking and construction companies and associations, we argue that the public trust doctrine is a state law doctrine and does not implicate a federal question subject to jurisdiction in the federal courts. The case also presents a political question that is not for the courts to decide, putting the courts in the position of adopting air emission standards of general applicability and monitoring compliance. No court has ever used the public trust doctrine to compel a regulatory action by the federal government, much less a sweeping new regulatory agenda of the type sought here. In addition, the parties bringing suit do not have standing, because their alleged injuries are not imminent and particularized, nor are they fairly traceable to the defendants or likely to be lessened by any court order.


Related Documents:
NAM Opening Brief  (December 23, 2013)

 

American Chemistry Council v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA regulation of boilers for area sources (boiler GACT)

The NAM and other industry organizations filed a petition with a federal appeals court to review a final rule on hazardous air pollutants issued by EPA on Feb. 1, 2013, entitled “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers.” The rule was written to require "generally available control technologies" (GACT) or management practices to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants, taking into consideration the cost of achieving such reductions. Our petition, styled Council of Industrial Boiler Owners v. EPA, was consolidated by the court into the Louisiana Envtl. Action Network case and then into the American Chemistry Council v. EPA case.

Our group also filed a petition with EPA for administrative reconsideration of this regulation, along with two related rules involving air pollutants for major sources (boiler MACT, or maximum achievable control technologies) and commercial and solid waste incineration (CISWI) units.

An EPA motion governing briefing and argument is currently pending.


Related Documents:
NAM Statement of Issues  (May 1, 2013)
Petition for Review  (April 2, 2013)

 

American Forest & Paper Ass'n v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA's CISWI regulations

On April 29, 2011, the NAM joined with 10 other associations asking a federal court to review EPA's new regulations on commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units. The rules have the potential to impose additional costs on key industrial sectors. We filed formal petitions in federal court challenging the rules to ensure that, if EPA fails to reconsider its actions, an appeals court panel will have a chance to consider whether EPA acted within the law.

On the same day, we filed a suit challenging EPA's rules establishing stricter emissions limits on industrial, commercial and institutional boilers. For details, see U.S. Sugar Corp. v. EPA (D.C. Cir.).

On May 16, 2011, EPA announced that it was reconsidering and delaying the effective dates for the Boiler MACT and CISWI rules, and the court suspended the legal proceedings. EPA proposed a new rule on Dec. 23, 2011, and issued the final rule on Feb. 7, 2013. Portions of the rule are currently in force and others become effective Aug. 7, 2013.

The NAM and other groups challenged this new rule in a case styled Portland Cement Ass'n v. EPA. That case, along with other business and environmental group challenges, have been consolidated into this case. An EPA motion to govern briefing and argument in this case is currently pending.


Related Documents:
Shopfloor Blog  (May 9, 2011)
NAM Petition for Review  (April 29, 2011)
NAM Petition for Administrative Stay  (April 27, 2011)

 

American Petroleum Institute v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA greenhouse gas regulation (tailoring Step 3)

The NAM and other organizations filed another petition to review an EPA action that is part of its suite of regulations of greenhouse gases from stationary sources. One of our initial suits in this series challenged the EPA's effort to interpret its authority with its Tailoring Rule -- tailoring the impact of the rule to only hit the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. That rule was necessary to prevent absurd consequences from the EPA's earlier interpretations of its authority. The NAM has argued that EPA could have adopted a more reasonable interpretation of its power so as to avoid the absurdities it is now trying to ameliorate. This latest rule (the Tailoring Step 3 rule) was issued on July 12, 2012.

 

American Petroleum Institute v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA greenhouse gas regulation (light-duty vehicles and CAFÉ standards)

The NAM and other organizations filed another petition to review an EPA action that is part of its suite of regulations of greenhouse gases from stationary sources. One of our initial suits in this series challenged the EPA's effort to regulate light-duty vehicles, because the agency used that rule as a predicate for further regulation of manufacturing facilities. We are challenging this latest rule, published Oct. 15, 2012, as well. The case has been consolidated with Plant Oil Powered Diesel Fuel Systems, Inc. v. EPA (No. 12-1428, D.C. Cir.) The NAM’s previous challenges are also currently under consideration by the D.C. Circuit.


Related Documents:
NAM Petition for Review  (December 14, 2012)

 

Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

When greenhouse gases become subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act

The NAM and 17 other business associations moved to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the EPA over the agency's interpretation of when greenhouse gases become "subject to regulation" (STR) under the Clean Air Act. CBD is expected to argue that greenhouse gases were already subject to regulation before EPA issued the "Johnson memo" in 2008 and a subsequent STR rule in April, 2010. If such a claim is accepted by a federal court, thousands of members of the business associations could be forced to obtain permits for new or existing facilities and to install costly control technology to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Related Documents:
NAM motion to intervene  (June 28, 2010)

 

JELD-WEN, Inc. v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA regulation of boilers and process heaters (boiler MACT)

The NAM and other industry organizations filed a petition with a federal appeals court to review a final rule on hazardous air pollutants issued by EPA on Jan. 31, 2013, entitled “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters.” The rule was written to require the maximum degree of reduction in emissions of hazardous air pollutants that is achievable, taking into consideration the cost of achieving such reductions. Thus, the rule requires “maximum achievable control technology” (MACT) for such equipment. Our challenge was consolidated with those of other industry and environmental groups, under the caption above. Details about the legal claims in this litigation were filed on May 2.

At the same time, these groups filed a petition with EPA for administrative reconsideration of this regulation, along with two related rules involving air pollutants for area sources (boiler GACT, or generally available control technology) and commercial and solid waste incineration (CISWI) units.

This petition to EPA identified several problems that make the rules burdensome and unsupported by the facts or the law. For example, there are concerns about the definition of startup and shutdown, and startup work practices were incorporated into the new rules without giving key stakeholders adequate opportunity to comment. Important safety considerations for the regulated community were overlooked in the definitions. Additionally, the new rules fail to take account of the importance of encouraging efficient and cost effective use of resources. The fuel requirements in the rules do not incorporate national goals of safeguarding fuel diversity and the list of clean fuels is unduly narrow. Particular parameters used to measure compliance with the new rules need further clarification to insure consistency across the operating parameters. The petition also points out that EPA does not have legal authority to impose the energy assessment requirement included in the rules and that, in any event, the requirement is not supported by the record.

This case has been consolidated with U.S. Sugar Corp. v. EPA, a similar challenge to EPA's boiler MACT regulations pending since 2011. Click here to follow developments in this case since the consolidation.


Related Documents:
Statement of Issues  (May 2, 2013)
NAM Petition for Review  (April 1, 2013)

 

National Association of Clean Water Agencies v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA's Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule

The NAM and other industry organizations filed a petition with a federal appeals court to review a final rule on non-hazardous secondary materials (NHSM) issued by the EPA on February 7, 2013, entitled “Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units: Reconsideration and Final Amendments; Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That Are Solid Waste, Final Rule”. The rule was written to identify whether NHSMs are solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act when used as fuels or ingredients in combustion units. Further details about the legal claims in this litigation will be filed with the court shortly.

This case was consolidated on June 7, 2013. For more information click here.


Related Documents:
Petition for Review  (May 7, 2013)

 

National Association of Manufacturers v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA's NAAQS for particulate matter

On March 15, 2013, the NAM filed a petition for the U.S. Court of Appeals to review the EPA's latest regulation of particulate matter. The regulation, published on Jan. 15, lowered the primary annual National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter from 15 to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. The NAM had urged EPA to retain the existing standard, but the agency opted to move forward with a more aggressive and damaging regulation.

NAM's President and CEO Jay Timmons said that the "new standard will crush manufacturers' plans for growth by restricting counties' ability to issue permits for new facilities, which makes them less attractive for new business. Essentially, existing facilities will have to be shuttered for new facilities to be built in these areas. This is not a conducive way to create jobs."

Our opening brief, filed 8/19/13, focused on whether EPA prejudged the need for the rule and the range of outcomes from the rulemaking process, whether it ignored a substantial body of contrary scientific evidence that does not support lowering the standard, whether its decision to require monitoring devices along roadways was unlawful because it will record maximum rather than ambient particulate matter concentrations, and whether the rule is invalid because EPA failed to provide implementation rules needed to address the legal consequences that flow from it.

The brief recounts the history of EPA's regulation of particulate matter. It notes that promulgation of the rule triggered immediate implementation obligations and started the clock on numerous others, yet many key implementation issues are unresolved. First, EPA has not approved a computer model to demonstrate compliance with the standard, which is typically how companies demonstrate compliance. Second, there are technical problems with the two methods approved by EPA for testing particulate matter emissions that have led EPA to recognize their limitations, indicating that reliable test methods are several years away. Third, EPA has not provided full guidance to the states about how to designate the boundaries of nonattainment areas, which could lead to improper designations and further burdens on manufacturers. Other issues are also highlighted.

Briefing in the case has concluded, and oral arguments were held on Feb. 20, 2014 before Judges Tatel, Brown and Kavanaugh.


Related Documents:
NAM brief  (August 19, 2013)
NAM Statement of Issues  (April 17, 2013)

 

National Mining Ass'n v. McCarthy   (D.C. Circuit)

Whether EPA guidance document constitutes regulation that must go through notice-and-comment rulemaking

There’s a law that prevents agencies from charging ahead with regulatory changes without seeking input from the public and the regulated community. It’s called the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and it was designed to require agencies that want to make significant changes to their regulations to publish the proposed changes and answer criticisms on the record.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency announced -- through a series of memoranda and letters -- a new system of review for certain Clean Water Act permits. These permits, called Section 404 permits, are needed by anyone that wants to build or modify a facility or undertake some other construction project that might have an effect on waters subject to federal jurisdiction. EPA later issued lengthy guidance making substantive changes to the requirements for permits for surface coal mining, also without going through notice-and-comment rulemaking.

The National Mining Association sued, and a federal district judge ruled that EPA had overstepped its authority and violated the APA. That ruling has been appealed to the D.C. Circuit, and the NAM and other business organizations filed an amicus brief supporting the trial judge’s decision. The brief described numerous instances where EPA and other regulatory agencies have issued regulatory requirements -- posing as guidance – that should be adopted by notice-and-comment procedures.

Changing regulatory requirements with guidance documents casts American businesses adrift in uncharted territory in terms of regulatory risk and stymies investment and economic growth. Agencies that fail to use proper rulemaking procedures make decisions without the insight, data and information of the regulated public, including the practical implications of alternative policy choices.


Related Documents:
NAM brief  (July 22, 2013)

 

Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Portland Cement NESHAP litigation

Several environmental groups sued EPA over its emission standards for hazardous air pollutants from cement plants. They argued that amendment to the standards weaken and delay compliance with an earlier rule, and that the agency must not allow an affirmative defense for manufacturers when malfunctions of industrial equipment occur. The NAM is part of the SSM Coalition, which filed an amicus brief supporting the affirmative defense. The environmental groups want a standard that regulated sources, including the best-performing sources, will be unable to meet at times despite their proper design, operation, and maintenance. As a result, manufacturers will face civil penalties for events beyond their control.

EPA properly took the position that malfunctions must be accounted for in standards which require maximum achievable control technology (MACT). To be achievable, MACT standards must be capable of being met on a regular basis, including under most adverse circumstances which can reasonably be expected to recur, including periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. EPA may set different requirements during malfunction events than apply to normal operations of plant equipment.

Our brief argued that an affirmative defense to civil penalties that might arise from a malfunction is required by the Clean Air Act and was properly promulgated by EPA. Without the defense, companies would be subjected to citizen suits, as well as administrative penalties, for events beyond their control.

We also argued that EPA has the authority to adjust the compliance deadline when it modifies a MACT standard. Not allowing this authority would be hugely unfair to regulated sources and would ignore the reality that it can take up to three years or more to design, acquire, install and start up pollution control equipment or modified processes.

Oral argument was held on 10/24/13.


Related Documents:
SSM Coalition brief  (July 30, 2013)

 

Portland Cement Ass'n v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA regulation of CISWI

The NAM and other industry organizations filed a petition with a federal appeals court to review a final rule, issued by EPA on Feb. 7, 2013, on Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI) units. The rule amends rules issued in 2011 relating to restrictions on materials that are used as fuels or ingredients in combustion units. Our petition, styled American Wood Council v. EPA, was consolidated by the court into the Portland Cement Association case. On April 1, 2013, we joined other business groups in a petition to EPA for administrative reconsideration of this regulation, along with two related rules involving air pollutants for area sources (boiler GACT, or generally available control technology) and major sources (boiler MACT, or maximum achievable control technologies).

The court consolidated this case into a challenge to the 2011 rule on CISWI units, styled American Forest & Paper Ass'n v. EPA. Click here for further details on this combined litigation.


Related Documents:
NAM Petition for Review  (April 1, 2013)

 

Sierra Club v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Defending EPA's sulfur dioxide regulation against accelerated enforcement

The NAM is a member of the NAAQS Implementation Coalition, which joined in a motion to intervene in a suit brought by the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council against EPA for its regulation on sulfur dioxide (SO2). The regulation, published August 5, 2013, designated 29 areas as "nonattainment" for SO2 based on recorded air quality monitoring data, and EPA announced its intention to address the regulation of the rest of the country in separate regulations in the future. The Sierra Club sued, and is expected to argue that EPA should use computer modeling to estimate which areas of the country are in "nonattainment" now, rather than waiting for actual monitoring data.

Our intervention is intended to allow us to argue that the modeling predictions urged by the Sierra Club will allow areas to be designated as nonattainment when in fact they are not. That will increase the number of such areas, and manufacturers will have to spend billions of dollars to achieve far greater emission redutions than would be required if designations were based on actual air quality monitoring data.


Related Documents:
Motion to Intervene  (November 4, 2013)

 

Sierra Club v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Whether carbon dioxide must be considered in EPA PSD permits

In the Deseret Power decision in 2008, the EPA Environmental Appeals Board rejected the Sierra Club's contention that preconstruction permits for new power plants must include "best available control technology" (BACT) for carbon dioxide, but sent the case back to the EPA to reconsider whether to impose the requirement under its discretionary authority, and to develop an adequate record for its decision. It encouraged the EPA to consider whether the issue in this case should be resolved "in the context of an action of nationwide scope, rather than through this specific permitting proceeding."

On Sept. 14, 2010, the court ordered the case held in abeyance pending the outcome of other greenhouse gas cases, and EPA will be providing status reports every 90 days. Former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson issued an interpretative guidance memorandum on Dec. 18, 2008, that concluded that PSD permits (for the Prevention of Serious Deterioration of air quality) do not need to include BACT limits for greenhouse gases. The Sierra Club challenged that guidance, while the NAM and other business organizations supported it. If the environmental groups succeed, the number and type of facilities (e.g., any which emit certain levels of CO2) requiring EPA permits would explode, resulting in an impassable regulatory gridlock that would overwhelm permitting authorities and bring new permits to a halt. Under such a scenario, even large department stores, schools, and medium-size office buildings would require Clean Air Act preconstruction permits in order to be built or expanded.

Our motion to intervene, filed 2/13/09, outlined why this case will have a substantial impact on many manufacturers, and why the EPA, which represents the general public interest, will not adequately represent the interests of the business community.

On Feb. 17, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson granted a Sierra Club petition for reconsideration of the Johnson memo, and permitted public comment on the matter. The D.C. Circuit has stayed the litigation.

On April 2, 2010, EPA completed its reconsideration of the Johnson memo and published a new "Subject to Regulation" notice that makes January 2, 2011 the date on which greenhouse gas emissions are regulated. On June 9, EPA asked the court to hold the case in abeyance while other litigation over its GHG regulation is resolved. The NAM opposed this motion, saying that the issues in this case are being addressed in other greenhouse gas cases, and the environmental groups here should not be allowed to have a second chance to litigate should they lose in those other cases. We also opposed an effort to allow the Center for Biological Diversity to switch its challenge from those cases into this one, as that could create competing panels of judges reviewing the same issues. The EPA proposal might create inconsistent rulings, confusion and uncertainty, and is very inefficient.


Related Documents:
NAM Opposition to EPA's Procedural Motion  (June 22, 2010)
NAM Motion to Intervene  (February 13, 2009)

 

U.S. Sugar Corp. v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA's boiler MACT regulations

On April 29, 2011, the NAM joined with 12 other associations asking a federal court to review EPA's Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) standard. The rules have the potential to dramatically impact the U.S. economy and impose enormous costs on key industrial sectors. We filed formal petitions in federal court challenging the rules to ensure that, if EPA fails to reconsider its actions, an appeals court panel will have a chance to consider whether EPA acted within the law. The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of associations including the NAM, was consolidated with U.S. Sugar Corp. v. EPA (D.C. Cir.). A statement of legal issues in the case were filed on July 8. On August 3, the D.C. Circuit ordered this case to be held in abeyance indefinitely.

We also filed a suit challenging EPA's rule establishing stricter emissions limits on commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units. For details, see American Forest & Paper Ass'n v. EPA (D.C. Cir.).

On May 18, 2011, EPA announced that it was reconsidering and delaying the effective dates for the Boiler MACT and CISWI rules. It published its final rule on Jan. 31, 2013, effective as of April 1, 2013, which prompted further lawsuits from both the business and environmental communities. Those suits were consolidated into this one. Initial briefs are due March 28, 2014, with briefing scheduled to conclude on Sept. 9.


Related Documents:
Shopfloor Blog  (May 9, 2011)
NAM Petition for Review  (April 29, 2011)
NAM ManuFACT  (April 29, 2011)
NAM Petition for Administrative Stay  (April 27, 2011)
Press Release  (February 23, 2011)

 

Waste Management, Inc. v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA's Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials rule

On June 16, 2011, the NAM filed a petition for review of the EPA’s Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) rule under the suite of Boiler MACT rules. The NHSM rule will classify as solid waste certain “secondary” materials that are currently used as a source of energy, such as coal ash or biomass residues from lumber. Solid waste must be burned in boilers regulated under more onerous rules than apply to fuels. The NAM is concerned with several aspects of the rule, including its effect on the use of non-hazardous materials, its presumption that all non-hazardous secondary materials are solid waste, and other provisions.

A list of legal issues in the case was filed, including challenging EPA's presumption that all non-hazardous secondary materials are solid waste, and its definition of "contaminants," "traditional fuels," and "contained gaseous material." Also at issue, among other things, is whether EPA violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act by failing to consider the economic impacts of the rule on small businesses.

On June 7, 2013, National Ass'n of Clean Water Agencies v. EPA was consolidated with the above captioned case. An EPA motion on briefing and argument is pending.


Related Documents:
Statement of Issues  (July 8, 2011)
NAM petition  (June 16, 2011)

 

White Stallion Energy Center, LLC v. EPA   (D.C. Circuit)

Challenging EPA Maximum Achievable Control Technology regulation

This case is about how the EPA establishes standards for maximum achievable control technology (MACT) which is used to minimize the emission of pollutants into the air. It arose in the context of a new regulation on emissions of hazardous air pollutants from electric utillities, as well as industrial-commercial-institutional steam generating units. The 2012 "Utility MACT" regulation adopts a methodology that has broad implications for industries subject to existing MACT standards that may be revised, or new standards yet to be developed.

The NAM filed an amicus brief arguing that the EPA erred in adopting a "pollutant-by-pollutant" approach. Under that approach, EPA cherry-picks emissions data from multiple sources and sets a MACT floor based on whatever source is deemed the "best" for each individual pollutant. This often means there is a different best performer for each pollutant, and no single source of emissions will be able to achieve the regulatory requirement. The NAM believes that these measurements need to be made from producers operating under practical conditions -- not individually measuring pollutants and not from sources ideally positioned to limit their pollution, as the EPA argues. The EPA's approach is like asking a decathlon champion to be able to win not only the overall decathlon, but all of the individual events as well.

In addition, we argued that EPA must give meaningful consideration to costs in determining whether a particular standard is achievable. The Clean Air Act requires that the level of pollution reduction that EPA specifies be achievable, and its methodology will severely curtail or eliminate operations. Some vendors are unwilling to offer guarantees that their pollution control technology will meet the new standards, and financing of new projects is jeopardized.

On 9/12/2012, the court ordered this case to be held in abeyance pending reconsideration of the new source standards now under way at EPA. The agency stated that it intends to complete the reconsideration by March 2013. It said it would reconsider "measurement issues related to mercury and the data set to which the variability calculation was applied when establishing the new source standards for particulate matter and hydrochloric acid." It also said that it would stay the effectiveness of the current new source standards for three months, until November 2. See 77 Fed. Reg. 45968 (Aug. 2, 2012).


Related Documents:
NAM brief  (August 3, 2012)

 


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