This commentary originally appeared on EDF's Climate 411 blog.
Another high-profile clean air case played out yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas and some industry petitioners.
The lawsuit challenges EPA’s efforts to ensure smooth, uninterrupted permitting for large new industrial sources of climate pollution in Texas.
EDF was part of a coalition of clean air advocates that filed two briefs in the case. We filed in support of EPA, along with Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club.
At issue in the case are State Implementation Plans, or SIPs as they’re commonly known.
Here’s some background on the case
U.S. clean air laws require that large new industrial sources obtain construction permits providing for cost-effective modern solutions to mitigate climate pollution. The states are empowered to provide those permits – through their SIPs.
In 2010, EPA found that 13 states, including Texas, lacked the ability to carry out that requirement.
All those states except Texas worked with EPA to ensure permitting authority was in place. That allowed large new industrial sources in those states to obtain the needed construction permits.
In an August 2, 2010 letter to EPA, Texas wrote that it:
ha[d] neither the authority nor the intention of interpreting, ignoring, or amending its laws in order to compel the permitting of greenhouse gas emissions.
That brings us to the lawsuits.
Here’s a look at what happened in court yesterday
Judges Judith Rogers, David Tatel, and Brett Kavanaugh heard oral arguments.
The judges closely questioned Texas and industry petitioners about the impact of the court’s recent decision in another case that we’ve written about.
In that challenge to the Endangerment Finding, before the same court, judges upheld EPA’s first-generation climate protections. The decision in that case said that EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act was:
In light of that earlier ruling, EPA argued that its actions were necessary to ensure that sources in Texas could get permits.
That became one of the main points of discussion during oral arguments yesterday – as the judges pressed Texas and the industry petitioners to describe how EPA’s actions caused them any injury.