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Greens move to dismiss EPA lawsuit over airplane emissions

Greens move to dismiss EPA lawsuit over airplane emissions
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A pair of environmental groups is moving to dismiss their lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for not regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, along with the EPA, filed a joint motion late Friday in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia, saying all parties would like the case to be dismissed, with no further explanation.

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The groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed the case in April, saying the EPA is obligated to craft greenhouse gas regulations for airplanes and had unnecessarily delayed doing so for years.

But the EPA is currently working toward such regulations. It formally declared in July that greenhouse gases from commercial airplanes threaten human health and the environment, a necessary step before the agency can regulate the pollutants.

The EPA cited its July declaration, known as an endangerment finding, when it asked the federal court in August to dismiss the lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs cannot plausibly claim that EPA has unreasonably delayed in proposing and promulgating emission standards,” the EPA told the court, explaining that a claim of unreasonable delay can only be made if the agency writes the endangerment finding and waits too long to write regulations.

The EPA is waiting to formulate the greenhouse gas standards themselves while the International Civil Aviation Organization writes international rules on the subject. The Obama administration has stated that it will likely match its domestic standards to the international ones, although it may go further.