The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t want the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a court ruling that overturned the agency’s limits on certain Earth-warming chemicals used in air conditioners.
Trump administration attorneys told the high court in a Tuesday brief that the EPA is no longer pursuing the type of regulation that the lower appeals court overturned, so the appeal by companies wishing to reinstate the rule is unnecessary.
The case concerns a 2015 rule under which the Obama administration sought to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The chemicals have been used in recent years to replace ozone-depleting chemicals, but HFCs are potent greenhouse gases, so the EPA sought to stop their use as well.
The Trump administration defended the HFC restrictions before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but lost. Now EPA officials are exploring other ways to regulate HFCs.
“Given EPA’s current position, the question presented is of limited prospective importance,” the Trump administration told the court. “Granting review to consider an interpretation of EPA’s authority that EPA itself no longer supports would serve little or no purpose.”
“This court’s review therefore is unwarranted,” attorneys said.
Companies that make HFC replacements, led by Honeywell International Inc., appealed the 2017 decision overturning the regulation, along with environmentalists led by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Although the decision overturned an EPA rule, the EPA did not file its own appeal.