Court tosses Trump rule limiting emissions regulations
A panel of federal appeals judges Washington, D.C., on Monday nixed a Trump administration rule that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries.
The rule, finalized just before President Trump left office, only allows greenhouse gas limits on power plants, exempting activities like such as oil and gas production and iron and steel manufacturing.
The regulation says that only sectors whose pollution makes up more than 3 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions are “considered to contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution.”
Calculations from the EPA determined that 2.5 and 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the oil and gas sector.
Environmental and public health groups, as well as several states, sued the EPA over the rule, which critics have said is arbitrary and would give a free pass to polluters.
The three-judge panel of Judith Rogers, Robert Wilkins and David Sentelle, Clinton, Obama and Regan appointees respectively, decided to vacate the rule after the Biden administration asked them to do so.
Asked for comment, an EPA spokesperson said that the agency “will follow the science and law in accordance with the Biden-Harris Administration’s executive orders and other directives in reviewing all of the agency’s actions issued under the previous Administration to ensure that they protect public health and the environment.”
Environmental groups cheered the court order.
“The Trump Administration tried to tie EPA’s hands by setting an arbitrary threshold for when polluters could be regulated,” said Environmental Defense Fund senior attorney Rosalie Winn said in a statement. “Today’s court decision leaves the Biden administration free to set standards for climate pollution based on solid science and law.”
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