The number of parties challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) December endangerment finding has grown into quite a crowd that includes three states and a number of industry groups.

It was reported Tuesday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, and the state of Texas filed separate petitions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that attacked the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA) (see Daily GPI, Feb. 17).

Other challengers include the states of Virginia and Alabama, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which has been joined in its petition by the American Petroleum Institute, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the Corn Refiners Association, the Brick Industry Association, the Western States Petroleum Association and the National Oilseed Processors Association.

A total of 16 “endangerment’ lawsuits were filed in the DC appeals court Tuesday before the deadline, according to a report by the New York Times.

The lawsuits challenge the EPA’s December endangerment finding that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHG emissions pose a danger to the public health and welfare. The EPA decision, if allowed to stand, would enable the agency to legally regulate GHG emissions under the CAA in much the same way that it regulates the pollutants that cause smog. In addition to their court challenge, both Virginia and Texas have asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to reconsider her decision.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the EPA acted in an “arbitrary and capricious fashion” and failed to properly exercise its judgment by relying almost exclusively on reports from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in attributing climate change to GHG emissions. In doing so, he said the EPA substantially ceded its obligation to make a judgment on the dangers of GHG emissions to the United States.

“There are significant issues with the EPA basing much of its endangerment finding on IPCC reports. The IPCC reports were produced without regard to U.S. data standards and thus lack the transparency and data quality standards that the EPA should be demanding in the reports it bases its endangerment finding on.

“The EPA was driven by political concerns and used questionable scientific reports to reach an outcome driven by politics. The EPA findings of endangerment of health and welfare are hypocritical as they failed to consider and properly weigh the offsetting harms to the health and welfare that will flow from their economically destructive regulation.”

In NAM’s court petition, “we are challenging EPA’s ‘endangerment finding’ determination and focusing on whether they asked the right questions, sought the right information and whether they are meeting their burden under the standards set forth in the Clean Air Act,” said NAM President John Engler.

“If EPA moves forward and begins regulating stationary sources [under the CAA], it will open the door for them to regulate everything from industrial facilities to farms to even American homes. Such a move would further complicate a permitting process that EPA is not equipped to handle, while increasing costs to the manufacturing sector.

“We support a comprehensive climate change policy that achieves real environmental results while also fostering continued economic growth — essential conditions for a healthy manufacturing sector in the United States.”

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